We cribbed our heads off at anyone who would listen to us (which was not too many people, after all), that the hygiene condition at the time of handing over the house was unacceptable. We told the owners (who operate in manner of international organisations through several individuals owning small bits of the overall responsibility, providing each other much needed cover and allowing leeway to bat problems from one to the other without much ado), we told the contractor who was commissioned to do the things that make it our home (i.e. shelves in the bathroom for our myriad possessions, none related to making up a woman's face or lips or eyes), we told even the iron-box-dabba shop people outside.
The husband wrote a caustic email.
He held back the payment to the contractor.
An army of aunties showed up, presumably to clean up. They demanded
(a) Suraf Powder (I felt reluctant to give them my excelomatic with the special blue grains in it. But they persisted).
(b) Harpic (they used some other term for it).
(c) Coconut Oil (Huh? I went. I gave them the chutku bottle of Parachute Advansed Hair Oil that I possess. And yes, don't get me started on the spelling there, been irritated for years with Parachute for that).
(d) Mopping Cloths
(f) Ladders and stools
(g) Hot Tea (and then they cribbed that it was too strong. Fuck. I even made it nice and sweet for them with two spoons of sugar each, despite nearly puking at the thought of drinking tea like that).
(h) Several bottles of good, clean drinking water
(i) Money (which I was told to refuse, having to pay the contractor who then paid his side kick, who presumably took his cut, and then handed over remaining largesse to the ladies)
They did not want:
(a) My Lysol floor cleaner solution
(b) Bleaching powder - a staple cleaning item in my mother's household
(c) Me or my inputs on the matter (other than for tea or other supplies)
By evening the floor, the doors, the window frames were all rendered nice and sticky through an unique combination of oil, soap, water, and cotton wool. I was told to not 'walk around without wiping my feet' I was assured they would be back today to finish up the work. I dread to think of what will ensue. After they finished up my bottle of Advansed oil they brought in some cheap-ass oil in sachets, which I suspect is what is making the house smell like aviyal gone bad.
Oh well. At least I have a cook. She calls me Akka.