Friday, February 16, 2007

liars in the courthouse

Just in time for my departure from India, I managed to lose my
daughter's passport and my own passport. Frantic relatives and
friends "did the needful" and checked the state department web site
to see what had to be done. Of course, one of the first things to be
done is to alert the authorities. Our Man Friday and I went to the
police station to give them the letter where I report the details of
our passports and how they went missing. The police officer told us
to we needed to get the statement notarized at a nearby courthouse.

I hadn't heard the word courthouse...only a word that sounded
something like "vyhal." I asked Man Friday what the officer told
him, and he said we have to go the courthouse, which is a place full
of "liars." I did a double-take when I heard him say that, for Man
Friday is very respectful of people who are highly educated. Then I
realized that his accent had turned the word "lawyers" into "liars."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

office mosquitoes

My sister-in-law often uses a figure of speech about "father-in-law's property." As in, "I walked in there and just sat down like it was my father-in-law's property." She does not yet have a father-in-law so I deduced it to mean something like the carte blanche that apparently Indian daughters-in-law enjoy. I used to wonder why the whole office seemed excited when I came by, smiling and trying to make me comfortable. I thought it was just Indian hospitality.

Anyway, I now resemble that phrase for I am sitting in my father-in- law' and husband's office at an empty desk and freely using the internet and drinking the office coffee.

Apparently, mosquitoes also keep office hours and do not know who I am because I am now sporting 4 or 5 new bites. The office boy has come and sprayed some very nice smelling HIT mosquito repellent, at least someone has told them who they are messing with!

Silence is not always acceptance

I have been rendered silent for a few days following an unexpected power surge or "high voltage" as they say here. I noticed that the ceiling fans started to whirr too fast for their setting, but stupid American me just shrugged her shoulders and paid it no heed. Proper
Indians would have known it for what it was and prudently run around their homes, unplugging and switching off everything in sight.

The surge took out our microwave, our radio, our ADSL router, our Airport router, possibly our cinema display, and a gazillion surge protectors that i had daisy chained in our "computing area." How is it that the stupid "all-out" burner - an electrical diffuser that diffuses a harmless, scentless vapor that "confuses" mosquitoes - that costs approximately $1.50 can stand up to "high voltage" better than $100 or even $700 sophisticated equipment?

It never fails, whenever my father-in-law leaves the country, this house turns on its occupants. It is as though the shit waits respectfully for my father-in-law to get on the plane before it hits
the fan. Following his departure, we have had 2 days' consecutive without power, a rash of "delayed reaction" rioting for Saddam's fate, retaliation rioting, maids quitting, revelation about cat's former sexuality, high voltage and now possibly more riots following a court decision that forces the state to share a goddamn natural resource with its countrymen in neighboring states.