Monday, January 29, 2007

what i will miss about bangalore

  • eggs with the chicken poop still on them... hey, you know it's fresh!
  • stressing out every morning whether i woke up in time to catch the milk man - if i don't give him my tickets, my daughter doesn't get her milk!
  • every few days in the hot hot summer, half of the milk order will have already soured by the time it gets to me.
  • boiling the day's milk every morning, and waiting for the cream to solidify on top so i can remove it and not have clumps of it showing up in my coffee or cereal.
  • the garbage man suddenly going MIA for weeks and trash accumulating in my backyard, providing a feast for rats miles around.
  • the garbage man turning up again after his MIA and demanding extra pay to remove the backlog of trash, or better yet, could i give him a cup of coffee?
  • maids i cannot communicate with who keep yakking like i am their long-lost sister, and how much they love Australians, oops, Americans.
  • needing an interpreter to translate Indian English to American English and vice versa
  • the puja flower lady - really, i will miss her... she's nice, even tho we can't communicate. sometimes she gives my daughter her own poomala (flower garland) to desecrate
  • the maid deciding to boil the cream accumulated from the daily boiling of milk into ghee in the middle of the afternoon, stinking up the entire house and preventing me from assigning any real work
  • turning on the motor every morning and afternoon so we have enough water for drinking, cooking, baths, etc.
  • mosquitoes
  • the nights when the all-out refill runs out and i wake up covered in mosquito bites
  • the impromptu appearance of small marching bands outside our home on certain holidays
  • the do-it-yourself approach every self-respecting Bangalorean takes to igniting many, many fireworks on diwali, new year's, christmas, etc.
  • taking my daughter to see cows everyday in the neighborhood
  • taking my daughter to see horses everyday in the neighborhood
  • avoiding the stray dogs my daughter thinks are "nice doggies" in the neighborhood
  • hearing my daughter say "VENDA" to street vendors and beggars along with me
  • hearing my daughter say "hello, cow, shake hands! awww, come, sit lap!" when we pass a cow on the street
  • the helpfulness of the grocery store clerks here, you can still shop while you are being rung up, heedless of the line of people behind you
  • the adoration nearly every citizen here has for babies, toddlers, and children - no matter the class, caste, or creed, they live to make kids smile.
  • the adoration nearly every citizen here has for foreigners like myself :)
  • the lust for my greenbacks that nearly every small shop owner has
  • the almost daily contest of wills with my hot water geyser
  • the shoddy craftsmanship that is omnipresent in consumer durables
  • the freedom to call oneself an "electrician," "plumber," or even doctor without evidence of any talent or training in that particular arena
  • the freedom to keep a herd of cows even though you don't have any land to call your own
  • the freedom to drive motorbikes, scooters, horse-and-buggies, and bullock carts the wrong way up a one way street
  • the liberty which the government takes in declaring a street one-way in one direction and then abruptly, without notice, reversing that one-way direction of that same street.
  • my weekly grocery bill coming in under $50 US, and still being more than i pay the maid, ironically.
  • the fights with the sneaky, one-eyed HOPCOMS grocer to avoid purchasing more food than i need or want
  • the slow and subtle destruction of my non-stick cookware and kitchen gadgets by my "help"
  • the $3 or 250 INR fees to see a doctor, prescription drugs at almost 1/5 of the US cost in some cases
  • manicures and pedicures at half the US cost with twice the US service
  • 7-star hotel buffets at $20 per head, including 2 alcoholic beverages
  • no-power sundays and saturdays every coupla months


Christy said...

Sounds like a very interesting life! I spent a few months in Ethiopia between high school and college and I enjoyed how every day was so new. Every day there were tons of small things, bits of culture and life that were different and interesting to me. I'm a little jealous, even with the talk of garbage men on strike and sour milk.

Soni Sona said...

(I stayed in B'lore 4 awhile doing an artist residency program -- that's what caught my eye to ur blog... also have other too-complicated-to-explain-here- familial-ties-to-India/Indian diaspora :-p )... That said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ur blog. It was an entertaining read -- much like touring in an auto-rickshaw with a running commentary and oral guide-book :-) Also, your insight into south Indian culture is intimate and interesting. You should publish a book :-)