Sunday, 31 May 2009

What is a chair?

This is how it worked in the household. We have a dining table with six chairs. (And, absurdly fat legs, may I add). One of those chairs served faithfully as my computer chair for as long as I can remember. Now we are in a bigger place and the six chair table is fitting quite nicely in the dining area (and not acting octopus like and occupying every inch of space as it used to in the other one). Plus the dining area is down the stairs (which, by the way, are naaasty and require some serious heavy duty cleaning and scrubbing before my mum shows up and gets on her hands and knees at the task). So, net-net, I am standing, leaning down onto the computer desk (which is an old-fashioned desk not at all meant for computers but has worked much better after I got rid of my fat monitor and got a flat one instead). It makes blogging hard. Plus I am google searching stores that maintain a semblance of hygiene so I can buy food. Or a vegetable market which is a place I have come to love with its strong smell of pudina and dhaniya. Without having to go to the wholesale market at Koyambeedu (or some such).

So, yeah, a chair is a blogging-facilitator. cheers.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Is Wireless Overrated?

I am completely sleepy. The air conditioners are working overtime. I am back though, and am finally somewhat set up at home. Meaning I have procured gas cylinders. And golly its hot.

The wireless acts cranky at times. I am wondering, is it worth its weight in gold? And also, parenthetically, about how 'unputdownable' has become a bonafide word. Much like 'irregardless' - ridiculous. Or lidicurous, as we say in our household, ever since we went to Bangkok several years ago and had to say Legent Hoter in order to make the taxi fellow understand us. And then, at the Regent Hoter, we had to tell the ladies that we wanted to hang out in the Robby Rounge for a bit, before we went to the room. But we are joking, being practical in a new country, but joking, and mean only the slightest of offense to the colourful taxicab drivers of B'Kok, and the wonderful skinned slim ladies of the Legent Hoter. But UnPutDownAble is not a word. It should not be bandied about like that. Its not on. I will not stand for it.

I am, as I said, back, and hoping I don't have swineflu. Sorry. H1N1 (P1G1 would have been more appropriate). More chatter soon.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Musing Still; Missing Some

Oh Feck it! I will still muse from Mumbai. What the hell difference will it make to anyone? I mean, ludwig tells me, in a frank admission of sorts, that my Hindi is 'atrocious' - though he had to accept that he could not illustrate with anectodal examples. Demmit. My tamil, by my own admission, is worse. So I suppose I could speak Hindi in Chennai and be considered a pundit of sorts. But wait, you have to have passed all those 'Yek Gaon Mein Yek Kisaan Raghu Thatha' type exams to be a Hindi Pundit in Chennai.

I miss my two ladies. I curse them. They irritate me endlessly. They don't sweep behind any furniture, they make baigan sambar with baigan subji. They borrow money endlessly. But I miss them. We nearly cried at our parting. Although its for a year. I would have brought them I think but I would been more irritated by them as they would be fully dependent on me. Plus they don't talk to each other already and so they would fight as well.

I miss using my bad Hindi and getting the house fixed up. I did it enough number of times in Mumbai and got in to a groove of sorts with it. Here its not the same. I mean, its never fun, but here it is less and less fun. Plus my legs ache from climbing up and down the stairs one million times. And still no sign of internet. Today a water heater fell down on the floor and spouted water. A gigantic water heater. Hateful thing.

Election day here today. The drivers tried to tell me that people are vettufying people and can I please chill at home. I had just returned from a useless trip trying to find a damn bookstore open in this city. I suppose they used an aruvaal and vettufied. One guy tried to involve me in a deep political discussion on ruling party versus opposition. I used technique no. b (hmmm. Yeah. True. Aaama Aaama. Yenna Kaalam)

Why does the monkey speak like Arshad Warsi? I just don't understand. But I do wish a Pashu Pakshi Kendriya Vidyalaya would actually exist so I can send my daughter to it. She will fit very well in there, the monkey (despite not speaking like Arshad Warsi; nor even being able to dance like him).

I am not yet living in my own home. I mean, I cannot manage without Aquaguard water (srgntpepper, say what you will, I am NOT drinking tap water, nor am I going the other extreme and buying Bisleri to bathe in, lets say this is my middle ground). Today Kumar(x) - his name might be Bala - said, madam, the water tank should be cleaned. I was like ewwwwww wonder what is in it.

So anyway I am off again. Destination: New England & York. I hope the monster behaves itself. I am planning on using serious technique on it. I have several friends offering to cook for us. Why? I mean, might as well eat out right. Pizzeria Uno. Yumm. I have to see if the husband (unadventurous eater to beat them all) will still eat the same old Spinnocoli.

Chill people. Now rhinos and hippos are eating. Poor shamsher singh. (I must be hungry, all this talk and thought of food. Thank heaven for this guest house I am living in).

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Popular Request

It seems that it is expected that I change my blog name. I mean, not the Kenny thing, which is mine, and that of a state (city) in the US, but the other one. Since I now muse from Chennai, for a little while at least. Or maybe I chatter. Or chirp...

Manjit, Kumar(1), Kumar(2), Kumar(3), Daniel. There are my men now. Unpacker, contractor, electrician, 'landscape artist' (what the fuck is that?). I will check with them regarding appropriate name for this place of mine.

Meanwhile, I am here. We did a crazy road trip. My bones ache still, thinking about it. I suppose it was fun. But now I am just irritated about it as my bones ache. I have not unloaded the car fully since my husband has gone off again to some place, Hyderabad perhaps, which, by the way we stopped at during said road trip as well. Might as well have stayed on, in that case no? Well between then and now our truck load of crap arrived and was duly apportioned into various parts of the house. It led me to put carpet ban on any shopping ventures the husband might be planning to indulge in. Enough! I said. (apart from several other uncharitable things to him regarding his tendencies to gallivant).

Manjit 'liked my voice' or so he said. His side kicks wanted to know if the bottles were Beer or Daaru. Is champagne Daaru I wondered aloud, at which point Manjit might have mentioned my voice again. Manjit must be particularly unparticular about voices, because, well, mine sucks. It generally sounds like a child's and is squeaky and whiny to the hilt. I used to hope my voice would 'break' you know like it does for boys, back then, all those years ago when we would occasionally record our voices on a magnetic cassette for god knows what purpose and mine would come out all squeaky.

How is my first experience in Chennai, do you ask? Details of the Road trip, do you ask? Am I all sorted out for the trip to the US do you ask? Well, ask you must, of course.

For now, I pop off, wondering all the while about how old I must have become (despite the voice) in order to have my body 'talk' to me this way. And also, finally at 9 am, the monster has woken up, her hair all over the place and her long fingers edging towards my biceps, as they are wont to. Be back soon chikaroos.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

What day is it today?

What day is it today?
What day is it today?
Its Thursday Its Thursday Its Thursday today.

This is a most annoying song the monster sings at her play school. I run miles if I happen to be dropping her off at the exact time that the creatures belt this out. My main problem is that they say it as

Vadday instead of Whatt Day.

Much like I have issues with the guy who kept saying

HeadduhBoard instead of Head Board.

Or the one that says

Matrial when really, he means Material.

Be that as it may, its Thursday. And judging from the most useful comments from my previous post, I have the following things to say:

* I am leaving, really, I am. Please exercise patience, peoples, really, you will see the back of me, shortly, shortly. One does not like to reveal EXACT dates and times and so on because you know, it might jinx it. But trust me, its soon, very soon.

* I drank a beer last night, now, it has been something like six months since I last chanced upon it. Unfortunately, it was warm (dislike that a fair bit). For interested parties, it was 'Tuborg' in a green bottle (which I poured into the final two glasses that I have managed to not break), and has a cap that requires only opposable thumbs (which I do possess, apparently).

* Yesterday was quite a nice humid day. My cotton shirt was dripping. For interested parties, its a very manly blue one with white collars and french cuffs that I have been wearing for ten years now. Its the same one that I have been known to have to use with a safety pin at the gut button, for, umm, safety.

* Thanks to German technology, the washing machine held its peace. Thanks also to German (ish) technology, the beast Skoda was very handy yesterday, given the humidity and so on.

* My special four burner auto ignite stove with the damaged nipples, stays, although it is currently running on cylinder gas, I recognise that it is not at its most efficient, for example, one cannot 'Sim' it. Vijay Sales, here I come.

* Murphy lives on. Two nights ago the monster, who is generally a stable creature not that given to falling, fell off a chair, while I was in the loo. I heard a gigantic thud, and ignored it because I was reading the Mazlich (thanks, choxbox). But the howling that followed was not the usual kind so I rushed out (stopping briefly to wash hands - its these details that readers come here for, I am sure). She had a bump the size of a large lemon on her forehead. I swear that this line went through my head as I iced it "How is your behavior in times of crisis Kenny, are you like cool and all or do you just break down and cry?" Well I did not break down and cry, I hugged her and called the doc and iced it all some more, and found Tom & Jerry on TV, and, thankfully, it got all better by next morning.

& now my time here is done. For anon.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

By Jove!

* What if the internet there sucks? I have become so used to this high speed connection now. What about the Gas Cylinder arrangements? Why does the world not have piped gas everywhere already? Oh wait. Safety might be an issue. Should I really upgrade my stove? What did the guy mean the 'nipple' on the stove is ruined and it will cost a trillion rupees to fix? Was he for real? Should I pack for the packers? Like people clean up the house before the cleaning lady comes

* Should I stock up on my favourite brands of food and shampoo and so on? Should I get my hair cut? Do they still have weird rules there about hair cuts (and 'eyebrow hair cuts' as the monster calls them) on Tuesdays? Will I manage to not HATE that sort of thing? What is Korean grass? Why should I not get ordinary grass? Is it North or South? I am okay with the latter. How do I say that in Tamizh? How do I say 'Compost Pit' in Tamizh?

* Will really, this Learn Tamil in 30 days book help or hurt? There is such a chasm between a bookish knowledge of a language and the ability to confidently hold forth in it so all the various gardener-contractor-gas cylinder service person-auto driver etc. don't smile into their moustache when you speak. Anyway I can now write the vowels. The monster was unimpressed. Ha! I will see how long she takes to learn them once school starts. Wait! Why am I competing with a five year old in this?

* I am determined to get a land line phone. But just not this month. In June. I will desperately need a maid too. They speak that twangy Tamil though oh god! They will think I am some young person. Must make sure to tell them my age first of all, will they ask for proof? Should I bring my mom in to deal with them? Will they make eyes if they see me expertly pouring a beer (well, this I don't at the core care about).

* Gate pass! They won't allow the truck out of here without a gate pass! Wonder if they will turn this around in a single day. Heck! Why not? We carry lab equipment out on a whim don't we. But this is an entire household. Why are we moving so much stuff anyway? Damn that Marquez. I have a vision that whatever I leave here will be demolished by ants in no time at all. Dammit. I remember our storage space in New York, we left things in there for eons and nothing happened (except the mattress got ruined completely due to gravity).

* Speaking of gravity, why do my breasts hurt. Nothing alarming I suppose. But it might be indicative of it being that time of the month. Please not now. Back off you. Hang around for a couple of weeks more. Ruin my US trip if you like. Thank heavens I am all stocked up so I can have 'A Happy Period.' (The person who came up with that line, if you are reading this, please yaar, cut me a break. There is no such thing. Or is there?

* Will my favourite Jogeshwari Bhaiyya, deliver my table in time? Okay its Oshiwara. But I love the guy. My pet book shelf, that tiny chair of the monster, this old fashioned study desk I use as a computer table, I like all these things he has given me, but most of all I like how humble, kind, and considerate he is. DONT tell me he charges more than he should, I don't care, he is a nice guy. But I hope he gets the table to me in time. To match the chair, you see. So she can learn her Tamil alphabet (and ha! lets see how long she takes, the monkey) sitting at it.

* Hells Bells woman. Go move the toy boxes into the back room and check whether the washing machine exploded. Its 8:15. Meeting # 1 is at 10. # 2 at 11. Bank to be visited. Ten points to people who guess the rest of my list for the day.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The day breaks

My mind aches.

I need a drink. What is best for the mornings? Whiskey? (Must have whiskey).

Singh, More, Pandey, Vinod, the men in my life. Packer, washing machine locker, furniture dismantler (and his friend, who just stopped by).

Without further ado, here is a list of things a girl must do to stay sane in times like this:
1. Wear cotton clothes, stopping just short of wearing shorts to work
2. Eat most of the child's breakfast, herself
3. Dream of playing basketball at 5 pm
4. Listen to Dylan obsessively, in her mind and on the music system
5. Play Nazarein Milana and Jai Ho in a loop for the child
6. Make lists of things already accomplished, for the pleasure of striking something off
7. Watch Shah Rukh Khan 'act'
8. Send SMSes to the Milk Supplier, the Newspaper Fellow, and the Cable Guy with the short legs.
8. Get off the fucking internet already.

Cheers mates

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Beanstalk

Sometimes, I don't know what happens to me. I have gone to the same places every single day this week, always forgetting one small task, and having to go back there, despite the sun being something really fierce. And all the while, when I step in an auto or climb behind the wheel, all I can think of is, dammit, here goes my carbon footprint. Seriously.

Had to live without drinking water yesterday. As in, I forgot to fill extra bottles due to pre-occupations with various matters, before they shut the water off for some maintenance work. And as always happens, the guys who came to shampoo the couch wanted water to drink, the monster drank gallons, I swigged a fair bit too, and at the end of the day I had BUY water for the cooking. The minute the cook left, knowing how these things work, I tried the taps, and, of course...

Autos have been fun by the way. I miss my auto days. Just love talking to the drivers. Some of them are surly, some have oiled hair, some look vaguely familiar (making me wonder about moonlighting activities), some are fantastically philosophical, and yes, Mumbai auto drivers are the best since they don't randomly charge you extra. Have I told about the one that asked me how old I am, and I said thees say do kam (which is what I was then), and he said Twenty Eight bolo madam. Or the one that was 14 years old and did not know the way to the airport and assured me he had a license (how?) anyway. Or the one that talked about his, as far as I could tell, male problems, and drove me through the fierce rain wiping his tears and telling me all the while that his wife was so good to still be with him. Heck, even the one that left me, the monster, and our suitcases in the wrong terminal and we had to walk across, dragging them. And the one who could not see my glasses on the road and I had to watch and wince as a Meru Cab drove over them (how did I trust him to drive a vehicle after that display of near-blindness? Well, welcome to India). I will miss you guys.

In Mothercare yesterday for a gift voucher, auto waiting outside (nice guy), the little boy was staring us down. Whats up kid. I said. Since I have stopped being disgruntled, I have also re-discovered that I like kids and have an easy way with them.
I am four.
Good for you, wow.
How old is she?
Well, ask her yourself, won't you?
She might be five, but I am still bigger than her.
(he was definitely taller than her, heck, about my height, give or take. so that's great that a kid can say that, and surely they always say it, and he was really cute in a robust kind of way, so I just smiled).
Mother comes rushing up. HEY YOU MIGHT BE TALLER BUT YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT BIGGER she booms from her immense height. I wanted to crack jokes about which of US was bigger, older, smarter. But hey, my auto was outside, and my little, bad-mouthed Zen (also standing no chance of being bigger than anything in the world), has sprouted wings and gone, to my sister.