Friday 26 April 2024

Update ! April 2024


20 people sharing 2 menus!

When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not upset people who are trying their hardest to do a good job when, really, we are desperate to laugh uncontrollably. I am laughing now as I type this! 

Our latest bone of contention is when we go to a restaurant with a lot of people. The waiting staff will hurry enthusiastically to the table and hand out either one or two menus regardless of the amount of people. So, 20 people two menus, 4 people 2 menus! Within a few seconds, the waiting staff will stand there and ask what you want when you haven’t seen any menu, expecting you to be telepathic or have x-ray vision. It can take several attempts to get more menus, after asking politely for more, then they will endeavour to bring the menus but one by one instead of bringing them all in one go. 

An encouraging smile works wonders but the whole process can be quite lengthy and we often have to do the encouraging smile through gritted teeth. Once the food choices have been selected, the person will go off to order it, or so you hope. Sometimes they come back with food, sometimes they don’t because they got side tracked, took another order and forgot yours. This happens frequently. You also have to ask for the food to come together or it will come in dribs and drabs. This is our usual dining out experience.

Although, recently, we went to Hard Rock Café in the centre of Bangalore and we couldn’t believe the exceptional service from one waiter who gave out enough menus, remembered everyone’s order, got the food to us altogether and whenever we asked for more drinks, was like lightning. 

You have never seen so many excited people. 


 All happy because we got our food on time.


Problems with the electricity


We have had several lengthy episodes of drama with the electricity.

Our first problem was when Rashida realised that the power had gone off and the back- up generator power had not switched on (this is where we can have ceiling lights, fans and a few sockets working, like the fridge and the kettle. This power comes on 25 seconds after the main power has gone off)

I was out at my Friday Board games morning when Rashida rang me and I could hear her shouting at someone. 

Apparently, we hadn’t paid the bill (oh yes, we had!) and the electricity people had opened the electricity cupboard where the meter is and removed the main fuses. This completely cuts off the power. I rang Andrew who rang the man that Rashida was shouting at.  

He wanted an extra payment that had appeared on the bill. However, we were not told about this and it hadn’t appeared on the monthly bill, but the man showed Rashida that it was an additional surcharge. The man then said that Andrew would have to go to the main office to get the power socket back (even though the man still had it in his hand.)

So, Andrew shouted at the man, down the phone, pointing out that he ran a business over an hour away and he cannot just drop everything to buy back a fuse that shouldn’t have been removed, without warning, and that this fuse was still on our property.

The man gave in and put the fuse back but only after Andrew paid the bill. The man sent the details and Andrew paid.

I was now on my way to come and help Rashida in the shouting, but the man had gone when I arrived back. 

The next day, our community app was full of the same story where people had paid extra on their bills because a new “mystery” payment had appeared and their fuses had been removed so they had no power. 

It all smelled rather fishy. 

Arjun was sent to the local electricity office to see why the payment had not appeared on our online payment and to see if he could find out what had happened.

 It appears that this fuse stealing man had taken the payments and put the money into his own account! 

So, now Arjun was shouting at people. 

The office manager rang Andrew, who explained what had happened and that this man needed sacking as he had taken money.

It took three weeks to sort out. When we asked what had happened, we were told “ it is sorted, it is done” 

Nothing else.


We now have a lock on the electricity cupboard and anyone that comes from the electricity office has to ask Rashida to unlock it, so she has the ultimate power.



  The electric meter cupboard


Camping for Carla.


A short while later, we were just piling into the car to go to a birthday party, when there was a bit of a bang and the power went off. We got out of the car and checked that the mains power fuse was there (Déjà vu). It was. We rang the electricians and they came quickly. It took about an hour to get a bit of power back and they told us that they would come back the next day but to not use too much power- so no Air Conditioning ! We couldn't go to the party.

 I spent the night sleeping on the terrace under the mosquito net because the bedroom was just too hot.

The electricians came back the next day and told us that they couldn’t fix the problem, we needed a new main armoured cable from the junction box two streets away and that it would cost £600. Our landlord said he would pay.


I spent the next three nights camping on the terrace. On my own, I might add, as Andrew went to Hyderabad and kept showing off that he had air conditioning, power and food at his hotel. (I couldn’t do any cooking either) 


The day came for the men to come and put in the cable. They said they would come at 11am. Now usually, workmen like to practice something that we call IST or Indian Stretch Time and they will turn up hours later. As Andrew was languishing in comfort, it meant I had the car, so I dashed to get some food with Arjun. 

This time the workmen had turned up early! I arrived home to find Rashida blocking the door with two men pleading to be let out!

She was shouting again. She let us in and explained to Arjun what was happening (in Kannada)  Then Arjun started to shout. 

As I only know a few words in Kannada ( I know more Hindi), I had to ask what was going on. 

I don’t think Arjun or Rashida had ever seen me so mad. 

Apparently, the men couldn’t fix the power because they didn’t have enough men.

It was my turn to shout.

I told them I was not sleeping on the terrace any more, they knew it needed doing and to get it sorted today like they had said!


They scuttled off, only to return 20 minutes later with 8 men, obviously the same men that weren’t available 20 minutes earlier! 


They started to dig a trench from the road to the house. It was the slowest digging I have ever seen. It took 6 hours to dig a 10ft long trench. Three men, with one tool that came from medieval times, took it in turns to chip away at the soil and grass. It was painful to watch, I could have dug it quicker with a teaspoon!


Now, at this point, we were, still are, in a major water crisis and we are not allowed to use water for the gardens or cars etc. I had told the men this. There is a £50 fine each time anyone misuses water.

I was inside the house when I could hear Rashida shouting again and went to find out what was going on.

The trench was now soaking wet as the men had gone to the hose and switched it on and used no end of water. They were really pleased that now the ground was softer to continue their long dig.


At this moment, our gardener turned up and he started shouting. The men continued digging with the gardener glaring at them.


So, trench dug, other men came and fixed a huge cable from the road to the house but then realised that they couldn’t fix it in the meter cupboard. After much head scratching, they left the wire connected with a flimsy socket. It was an electrocution waiting to happen. 


Recently, there have been several tragic electrocutions of people just going about their day. A young mother and her child died when they were walking along the road, a live wire was on the ground. A young man had been electrocuted when a wire had touched his back pack. A child had died in a swimming pool because the lights were not connected properly. The list is endless, sadly.


None of us would go near the wire. Luckily, they did come the next day to thread the wire into the wall and into the cupboard. 


We had power.


Or so we thought!


Why is nothing simple here ? 

The new system was allegedly an improvement. 

No, it was worse!


Apparently, we could now have one air conditioning unit on when the power back up was activated (before the AC didn’t work on the back -up generator)


As the man was explaining the new system to me, I asked what I thought was a simple question, do I have to turn off the sockets when the back up power is on ?

“No madam you can have one AC”.

“But all the ACs will still be switched on at the sockets” I said, “plus all the appliances like the washing machine”

“No, madam you don’t understand.” And off they went.


The first power cut of the day (we have several a day, by the way) and the power tripped and I couldn’t turn it back on. I had to call the electricians back.


The old system went like this – power cut, then 25 seconds with no power then the back- up generator switches on, we get a bit of power back on - fans and lights, but no AC - no oven, dishwasher, washing machine etc. The important thing here is that the sockets are still switched on but don’t work. Then, when the power is back to normal everything switches on.


New system – power off, 

Right - run around the house as fast as you can to switch off all the sockets –  even in the middle of the night, choose one ‘large’ appliance as quickly as you can, choose one only!


If you are not fast enough (remember you have 25 seconds) then the socket trips outside and we have to call for the electricians to turn the power on at the junction box down the road.


Whoever had planned this new system thought they had it covered, they didn’t. They were proud that an AC unit could run but hadn’t thought about the fact that if you have the dishwasher and washing machine on, or another appliance, if the power goes off and you don’t go quickly enough to switch them off at the sockets then when the back up power comes on, it will trip the whole house. 


Confused ? Welcome to our everyday life!




Wrong address


One really good thing about India is that you can order almost anything to your house. Shopping will arrive within 10 – 20 minutes. It is very efficient but, of course, things do go wrong. The delivery person has your phone number and will ring if there’s a problem. 

Now, I am ashamed to say that I find some people  difficult to understand on the phone as their English is rather hurried and the way of speaking English can be totally different to the way that we speak and I find myself asking the people repeatedly to speak slowly and clearly. 

One day, I was waiting for a delivery and a young man rang. 

“Please answer the door,” he said  (after I got him the repeat himself)

I went to the door, there was no one there.

I told him this and then he said,” you must have the wrong address!” 

I told him our address again to check,”

“no, madam you are at the wrong house! “

I now couldn’t stop laughing as I pointed out that he was at the wrong address, not me. 

“No, madam I am at the right address”, he said insistently.

“Well, you can’t be as you are not outside my door! “I replied.


I told him my address again.

He insisted that I was wrong and he was right!

After a bit of pantomime theatrics, he realised that he was in the wrong community completely. But he still wouldn’t admit that it was his mistake.

Whatever it was that I had ordered did eventually turn up with the man, who rang the bell.

I was upstairs at the time so as soon as I heard the door- bell, I got up to go downstairs . He rang the bell again and then immediately phoned me. 

By this point I was getting annoyed. I got to the door and opened it. 


“Madam, you didn’t open the door when I rung the bell.”


Through gritted teeth, I replied that I was not a magic fairy that can appear instantly when the door bell is rung and that I am not stood there waiting for people to ring the bell. I reminded him that he got the address wrong and that was not my fault as I know where I live.


All was lost on him as he was too busy pressing the app on his phone to say 

Greetings, your package has arrived, please give a good rating


Mmm…. Not so sure about that !



Palm Meadows  – Rules, Rules, and more stupid Rules.


The dynamics of our community Palm Meadows has changed. 

There are not so many expats now living in the community and more locals have moved in who don’t seem to use the pool as much.  There seems to be a lot of conferences being held at the club house / hotel to bring in more money. The people get very excited on seeing the swimming pool and want to go in, which is great. Last week a group of men just jumped in in their underpants (ugh!) and another group got in in their clothes. 

This is against the published rules that are posted everywhere. 

But as they are guests it is allowed, apparently!

But if a club member goes in the main lap pool, without a swimming cap, because there are so many conference guests in the other pool, then there is hell to pay as your hair may contaminate the water. The same water that is used in the leisure pool ten metres away!

If the guests want to go and jump in the lap pool without a cap, it is fine.


The rules seem to becoming discriminatory.


If you are an expat that pays the club fees, you can only eat at the outside tables but if you are a hotel guest you can eat by the pool. (this was a recent new rule) 

You also can’t order a drink at certain times either.


I had completed my swim one day and it was 11:21 exactly. I asked one of the waiting staff if I could have a sweet lime soda please.


Stony faced, he abruptly said, “No! the bar doesn’t open until 11:30”

“But I don’t want alcohol,” I said .

“No, 11:30 !”  (it was now nearly that as I had stared at him for a while after his reply)


“So, are you a hotel or a concentration camp? I only want a soft drink please” I said with a raised voice. (Sounding a little like a Fawlty Towers sketch)


One of the other waiters came along and said he would go and get the drink. It was now 11:30 anyway. 


I then heard a French couple, who had just moved into a new villa, trying to order some food by the pool. They were told, no they couldn’t sit by the pool they had to sit at the tables, so I thought this was a new rule. They went and complied with this request.

But half an hour later, some hotel guests were being served in the exact place that the French couple had asked to be served. Seeing this, they went to ask why they had to sit in a different place to eat, only to be told that the other people were guests and they were only club members!

They left immediately saying that they would not pay due to the discrimination.


I stopped for another hour to swim again and then needed to go home. As I was leaving, I saw one of my expat friends walking into the hotel carrying a coffee from home and saying very loudly,


“If you won’t serve me a coffee then I will just bring my own! “ 


So, it seemed everyone had something happening to them on that day.


The doorman, who always says hello and goodbye every time, just smiled kindly and let her go in.


Added to this, the restaurant is playing ‘plinky – plonky’ music at full volume. It is so loud that I can hear it through my sound cancelling headphones!


I think it may get worse before it gets better. There are too many rules to list.


 But the rules are not consistent or just down right daft!

Escape to Sicily, Mumbai, Dubai, - just anywhere!


With all of these ridiculous rules and regulations, the general frustrations with the way things happen, the continuing demolition and building works that we are surrounded by, the noise, the incessant dust, it means we now find ourselves having to leave India every 3 months to have a breather from all of the chaos. If not, then we might go mad!

In October we had had a few days in Dubai, that was very calming and enjoyable.


At Christmas, we went to our home in Sicily ( we stopped in Dubai on the way for the night) and it was so peaceful, we had a wonderful time. We walked, we ate Sicilian food and we breathed in the clean air. We came back refreshed and ready for all daft things that go on.

In January, Milo went to Rishikesh with the school for 5 days and activities included Bungee jumping, white water rafting and hiking. They stopped in a posh hotel on the River Ganges.He later confessed that on some nights they didn't go to bed because they were too bust partying.

 River  Ganges

In February, Max had booked to go and see Ed Sheeran in Mumbai. He was supposed to go with a friend but this didn't work out so Andrew said he would go. Milo piped up saying he wanted to go too so I decided that the hotel break would be nice. We went for a long weekend at the Taj. Some friends  were going to the concert too so we joined up and went to a very swish restaurant owned by Shilpa Shetty. The boys enjoyed the concert and they met with some other friends at the venue. 

Then, at Easter, Milo and I went on our own to Sicily as Andrew was working and Max had school, he has the equivalent of his A levels in May. 

We realised that if we stayed in Bangalore, then during Milo’s time off, he would be surrounded by building work, we would have no car and we would be stuck in the house or down at the pool with the conference people swimming in their underpants!

Instead, we went hiking up Etna, that had recently erupted, we went in the woods, on the beach. Milo went bouldering at the University of Catania and he made some new Sicilian friends. We went out with Avril and her friends. We did gardening, went shopping and got up to all sorts. Of course, we missed Andrew, Max and Andy but it was nice to be in Sicily.



Our friends and events


But with all the silly things that happen, we can laugh about them with our many friends. We are still out frequently and enjoy our socialising life. It is not just our community that is crackers ! When we get together, there is always someone who has a tale to tell. It can get quite competitive. 


I keep saying that I ought to write a book.  

I have attached some photos of the various events that we have attended. 

 Out on the town with Sidd

 Andy and his brother, sisters and mum

 Andrew was out with Sidd

 Sidd took Andrew and the boys to a men's grooming parlour
 Andy has stolen a cloth again

 Max and Milo played solo guitar at a concert put on by their Music teacher Andy Ambat

 Milo playing his guitar.

 with Andy

  Photo on the escalator in the Dubai Mall 

 We met Diane and Rob in Dubai before we went on to Sicily in December.

 View from our house in Sicily

 Avril and her friends had surprised us by decorating the house.

 At the top of Etna. It was freezing

 The boys carried on in the snow

 I decided that snow is not for me and I got back in the car.

 Our new fire in the house, lovely after being up the mountain. Although generally the weather was mild at the house and we were in t- shirts and light jumpers.

 In Taormina

 Christmas Day in Sicily

 Andy on Christmas Day

 Christmas dinner Sicilian style . With crackers from the Uk
 The walk along the path behind our house

 It was so warm in the beginning of January in Giardini Naxos

 Back in Bangalore, Jimmy Carr was rather rude !

 Back in Bangalore, the fan was being used to keep people cool when they were eating but luckily, the attempt on electrocution failed for the people in the pool.

 Milo bouldering

 Andy loves coconuts

 People in their underpants in the pool

 An afternoon out celebrating Max's graduation. Sidd very kindly bought champagne and the dinner for us all.

 Max played in the band for his graduation

 Milo sneaked Aryan in for the graduation

 Very proud of our boy.

 Max with Rafael

 Before we went for the graduation

 Graduation cake

  Max and Andrew went out partying when Milo and I were in Sicily


 Milo hiking on Etna

 Avril got a table and we couldn't fit Milo back in the car.

 Milo bouldering at the University of Catania

 Out socialising again.

 Max and his mates

 Andy went with Andrew and Max to our friend's farm. He had a great time running free.

 partying again 

 Milo on the beach 

 At the cricket watching Bangalore

 Sicilian pizza and wine ( that doesn't cost the earth)

 Max's last official day at school

 Dinner outside in the clouds

 Milo celebrating Holi at school with Mr Jason.

 Max at school with his mates as they finished 


 Bastion in Mumbai

 The Gate of India in the background


 We had a party for when our friend Matt visited from the US.

 Andrew with Alphonso, the sweetest donkey

 Max went with Ewout to see the football

 Simon and Claire came from Skegness and the Deputy high Commissioner, his deputy and someone from the foreign office visited.

 There was intense competition at the go- karting track

 Our friend Sidd opened a new restaurant.

 A local pizza restaurant that we like

 Andrew was invited to speak about setting up a business to David Davies from the British cabinet and to MB Patil, a minister from the Karnatakan government

 Boys out for lunch















Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...