Saturday, August 05, 2006

Useful terms :)

i have collected some terms in a few different languages that i would like to share... all spellings are phonetic and not intended to be accurate.

komchor - hindi for slacker... literally work-theif, a person who steals by getting a job somewhere and not doing any real work while there.

shingirry - malayalam for sidekick.  nobody likes to do errands alone, it’s always nice to have a shingirry.  and in india, with a billion people, shingirries are aplenty.

goobal - kannada for fool.  i think googoo is the actual word.  i may have concocted goobal.

undah madree - tamil for “so that’s how” or similar.  

don’t think i am launching an assault on these ancient, venerable languages... for their speakers are launching a similar assault on my not-so-ancient-but-still-venerable-i-feel language..  my driving teacher admonished me not to let up on the clutch using only my smallest “leg-finger!”     “Whah?” i gurgled - i had no clue what he was talking about.   “Leg-finger! Leg-finger! the fingers on your legs!” he insisted.   From that i finally figured out that he was talking about toes.  

Reserve fuel

being out of gas reminded me of something kinda funny.

the most mentally-challenged driver i have had yet was driving baby and me to baby’s dr. appointment one evening.  traffic was its usual ugly self, but in bangalore the air itself is very smoggy and full of all kinds of pollution... trash fires, engines without catalytic converters, cow farts, you name it.   we are waiting at the traffic light (we have already had to sit through two green lights) at a notorious intersection.  Suddenly i heard the car’s voice announce “Your Scorpio is running on reserve fuel. Your Scorpio is running on reserve fuel.”   this was news to me... my goobal (goobal means fool in Kannada?) driver hadn’t mentioned anything.  

Out of gas... Cooking gas

today, there was only enough cooking gas to make that first cup of tea and then kaput.  No more cooking gas.  This is one of the hardest things to adjust to here in india.  the bare necessities of life do not flow freely from the taps in your house.  An electric motor pumps water from the sump to a tank on the roof of the house; cooking gas comes in cylinders, and electricity usually goes out for a few hours a day.  

Cooking gas (LPG - light propane gas) comes in cylinders similar to the ones used in propane gas grills in the US.  However, american propane cylinders come with gauges to indicate how much gas is really there; there are no such gauges on the indian cylinders.  

How do you know that you are really getting what you pay for?, i asked my father-in-law.  “by the weight of it,” he told me...but i have never seen him lift one yet.  my kid sister-in-law insists that based on the pattern of cooking and consumption in the house, the cylinder should last x number of days.  

i think there is some sort of government control on the consumption of cooking gas.  we have accounts with two LPG outlets, and each time we order a cylinder, we cannot order another cylinder from the same outlet for two weeks.  somehow, we have about four gas cylinders sitting about the kitchen and storage areas at one time.  right now all four cylinders are empty.  we are due one cylinder of gas, but we did not call the outlet to remind them them about it, and so will have to wait until monday noontime to get it.

this is the third or fourth time this has happened since we came last september.  each time, tea-starved household members hunt for a scapegoat to slaughter.

why can’t they just put gauges on the darn things?  

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ahhh, cantcha just *smell* jersey from here?

On one of our first nights here in bangalore, my husband and i were being driven home from the mall when i swore i smelled a skunk.  Strangely, the smell made me homesick.  

I said to my husband, “wow, i didn’t know there were skunks in india.  can’tcha smell it?” and i breathed in deeply, thinking of home.  

My husband whispered to me, “I think what you’re smelling is our man’s [the driver’s] armpits.”