Monday, August 20, 2007

18 August 18, 2007: Cows, Chickens and Garuda

Woke up with a “persistent low-grade fever”: 99.9. Remembered a bizarre dream in which Tom Cruise gave up acting to manage Spielberg’s business interests. Guess he discovered he was a good salesman.

“99.9 Fahrenheit degrees
Stable now with rising possibilities”

Sad that everyone is having Friday dinner at Stump Sprouts as I make notes in my book, and I am not there!

For breakfast we had a traditional Kerala dish called putu (?sp), which is a red (unpolished) rice, ground up and mixed with coconut and steamed in a special cylinder. We ate it with a chole curry.

In the morning I worked for a few hours, digging into one of the two dissertations I brought with me.

Lunch when the children returned from their Saturday half-day of school was mixed rice, spicy raita, and the curry from breakfast. Then in my first trip outside since I arrived at Mantri Splendor, Rethi, Rahul and I took an auto into the city. We waited about 10 minutes or so for an empty one to come along, enduring the dust clouds until then. Destination: Garuda Mall so Rethi could buy some gifts for her cousin visiting from Dubai. The mall could be located anywhere in the States, familiar layout and even some familiar stores like Marks and Spencer and Lush. The place was crawling with security, though, and I had to have my bag searched on the way in, and had to leave it in a coat check at the entrance to almost every store. The power went out a couple of times while we were there, but it seemed totally normal and people went about their business. We had a coffee, from a (Karnataka) chain. There was even the ubiquitous cookie stand, though this one was Australian.

We got an auto back, with Rethy offering the guy an extra Rs 10 to make up for the bad road. Autos careen down the street, seemingly heading for oncoming traffic, and swerving out of the way at the last possible minute. This would be bad enough if the autos weren’t also sharing the road with bicycles, scooters, trucks, tractors, cars, ox carts, cows, and even a donkey cart. Add to this pedestrians trying to cross the road, or just walking along the side of the road. I even saw a cow being milked by the side of the road. Rethy asked me what my biggest culture shock was and I told her it was definitely the cows in the city. She says you do not see that in other cities like Chennai or in Kerala, only Bangalore. I wonder why.

When we got back, our bodies covered in dust and sore from being jolted around (imagine the auto drivers!), we enjoyed some tea on the balcony, and then took a stroll around the grounds (“until you feel at home”) of Mantri Splendor. I have to admit, it seems a nice place to live with your kids – open spaces to play, lots of friendly neighbors. There’s even a small store in the basement where you can buy food. I discovered why the mosquitoes all came to bite me the night before around dusk. It is because the complex does a daily mosquito fogging (the chemicals!), and the mosquitoes go up to higher levels to escape. Watched pieces of some Hindi and Malyalam movies on tv before a dinner of chappatis (plain) and prepared spinach paneer.

1 comment:

mrdirky said...

Hey Rosemary - just catching up on your adventures. I caught your Suzanne Vega quote and remembered that we saw a poster in Shelburne Falls for an upcoming concert of hers - apparently she's hit the small time now.



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