In Mumbai, when we bought bulbs, we bought in bulk. Like at least ten at a time. In my most recent abode there we had tube lights that came with the house and then some sockets in which we bunged CFLs. In the old abode on the high high higher floor, in a misguided move we had installed some 'light fixtures' - they sucked royally and bulbs fused every other minute and blew the wire along with. The husband bought boxes and boxes of bulbs to satisfy the craving the fixtures had. Usually we walked into a hardware store and identified the type of bulb we required and said
Ek box dena (or deejiye)
The guy tested every one of the bulbs in the box and forked it over in exchange for the ruppees.
Here also we have wierd looking fixtures on the wall. A friend who has done the same (temporary) move as us and rented a similar house from same source insists that she hated the fixtures and needed to get them all changed over. I don't hate these as much as I hate my own light fixtures in Mumbai, plus, I do not have sufficient patience to tolerate changing of so many things now. So I am going with the fixtures. They are all fitted with 40W round, yellow bulbs. As and when they fuse, I am changing over to CFL. They fuse often. Plus there are so many places to light up on the outside etc. that we have had plenty opportunities to move on to CFL as any sane human being would.
With visions of our Mumbai purchases, I dragged into the hardware store.
They were irritated. Bulbs in the Electric store they yelled. Oh okay. I went to the Electric store, after purchasing a cheap-ass kitchen drain trap thingie since that was missing and incidentally available in the H.S. (and not in the E.S. of course). The Electric store guy had THREE CFL bulbs. I went down the road to the other one. He had NONE. Though he did offer to hook me up with four round bulbs, a kindness I had to turn down, because, you know, BAN THE FUCKING BULB already.
Of course, I did operate in semi-darkness last week (three round bulbs of 40W each are hardly enough to light up a room enough to allow us to read). But now finally I have done some adjustments, gone ten times to various E.S. in the area and we have some semblance of light in the home.
Should I smuggle bulbs from Mumbai, I wonder.
While at it, I should smuggle alcohol too. Its a nightmare to get something as simple as a bottle of beer here. While really, all I had to do was ring 2570xxxx and he would land up with the chilled goodies in about three minutes (I suspected at times that come Saturday he would be half way to our flat already, knowing fully well that we would call). And by the way, the booze store there gave us a box of chocolates as a Diwali gift for being the preferred customer.
The crazy thing about India is that at times its hard to believe its the same country across the length and breadth of it. I mean you have the usual floods in one part drought in the other type situations. Then there is the generic weather. Then there are all these cultural differences (what else can I call it?).