Tuesday 18 September 2018

Fawlty Towers, Ganesha Festival & The Mystery Tour

He's from Barcelona you know!

There is never a dull moment in our house. I had intended to have a go at making a chicken masala to compete with my friend Diane who had visited in July. I had not had the time to have a go but last Friday I had chicken and all the ingredients.
I asked Mala to cut the chicken for me while I roasted some vegetables.The idea was that we would make two dishes. One, chicken cooked with rosemary and cold roasted vegetables and the other, chicken masala.
  As I did my part, I noticed Mala also chopping the rosemary on the same chopping board as the raw chicken. She then took her chopped rosemary and attempted to sprinkle it on to my vegetable dish (so mixing the raw juices of the chicken with the cold dish)
"Mala that could be dangerous" I cried out. Mala, very confused was looking at the rosemary. (This is where Fawlty Towers comes in. Sometimes Mala reacts like Manuel does)
"ma'am, throw!" - so she gets the rosemary and throws it in the bin. So I said, "it's the chicken that can be poisonous" to which she stares at me again in disbelief and then looks at the chicken on the chopping board.
"ma'am, chicken, dead - no snake!"
I now turn into Basil Fawlty. "No, Mala raw chicken dangerous! salmonella" More staring so I repeated salmonella slowly .
"No, chicken dangerous - bugs on it "  Obviously, my choice of words was even more confusing because she then started checking the chicken for insects!
'No bugs, Ma'am"
At this point I decided to get Arjun from outside to translate properly for me.
Once he'd explained about cross contamination, we watched a quick youtube video on what I meant. I then showed Mala that everything you touch can get contaminated if you don't wash your hands.
So after quite some time, I thought I had managed to explain and everything was clean and sorted.
A man came for a delivery so I answered the door only to return to find Mala now washing the chicken in boiling hot water in a bowl and splashing any potential salmonella all on the kitchen worktop, the utensil rack, sugar bowl and everything that she had switched to that side of the kitchen.

I think we need one of those UV fluorescent lights. Needless to say, we are still alive and I never managed to cook the masala myself as I had to go to school to help with the guided reading programme.
I'll make sure I chop the chicken myself! We will also make sure that Mala gets a trip to the Micronclean cleanroom laundry when Andrew gets its up and running. I don't think she will believe the levels of hygiene that will be in operation inside the very special 'laundry'!

Ganesha Chaturthi

This last week has been a build up for a special festival celebrating of Ganesha Chaturthi. It is the Hindu festival held on the birthday of Lord Ganesha, who was the son of Shiva and Parvati. 
Over the last couple of weeks, roadside stalls sprung up with a range of Elephant God Ganeshas ranging from 6 inches to probably 12 foot in height. The Ganesha statues are then placed in Pooja (prayer) areas in order for people to pass their offerings and prayers to the God. The ultimate event is that the statues are then sent into the local lakes, rivers or sea to sink from view. Due to the amount of pollution generated they have now banned plaster of Paris models and most models are now made from natural clays that do dissolve in the final resting places after which he is believed to go back to the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati . The festival and actions are symbolic of new beginnings and removal of obstacles.

The Mystery tour : A little ride around the countryside

Last Saturday morning we managed to take a short mystery ride with Arjun into the local countryside. Unfortunately a tired little member of the family shortened the tour, but we did manage to see some of the less chaotic side to Bangalore. There were lots of opportunities to see typical Indian country life and luckily we managed to slightly distract Milo... He was given the camera to take some photos as we drove along. Even though slightly edited afterwards to reduce the wobble factor he did a very good job as you can see below:

Friday 7 September 2018

Hindi, Homework, local supermarket, birthday

I have started to learn how to speak, read and write Hindi. ( Andrew and the boys are not on board yet but I am trying to encourage them). The lessons are once a week but I reckon two would be better. I now have a greater admiration for Indian people, especially small children who are also learning English and their regional language of Kannada. It is so hard to follow Hindi.

The word order is jumbled up. The verb is at the end of the sentence (like in Latin ,which I did to A -level so I should at least have some way of being ahead!)

The rest of the sentence is also jumbled so ......

The bag is on the table    -----equals----  bag table on is              (there is no "the")

Like in French the words are feminine and masculine and the verbs agree with the gender too.

I now spend my time by the pool practising talking out loud to myself and writing the letters I have learnt so far.

क ग घ ख - these are the letters I can write so far ......( not a,b,c,d but Ka KH G Gh ??)

I also take any opportunity I get to practise with real people so the other day it was a delivery boy and the lady toilet attendant in the hotel. They smiled politely and patiently as I counted to ten and told them my name !

It may be a while before I am fluent.........


The boys have been back at school for a number of weeks and I am already fed up with homework. Even I roll my eyes when I see how much they have to do, including Milo. Quite a bit of it is research which is fine in small doses and if the handing in time is lengthy but we have less than a week to do work that I would give for about 3 weeks. There is research, second language, English language and Maths for Milo. The other day, for research, Milo had to answer the question - How was the Galaxy made? The information from the BBC site was given with the explanation from Dr. Brian Cox!
Milo is 9 not 19!  He had to read the information, understand it and then write it in his own words for two sides of paper. He then had to write for another 4 pages on both sides with further information. It took me an hour to do two sides and I know what to do. I don't want to cast aspersions but I think maybe a lot of homework may be the work of a few pushy parents ........... I also wondered if we could be silly and write about how the chocolate bar was made!

Local supermarket 

The small supermarket on the estate, which was very handy, closed down. There is another small supermarket down the road within easy walking distance that sells a lot of international things so I set off there the other day when Andrew quite inconveniently needed Arjun for work. It was a pleasant but dusty walk there and back. Imagine my horror when Max texted me a few mornings later with the news that it too had closed down.
How was I going to source the tins of Heinz baked beans now? Milo's only condition that he would live in India was if he had access to baked beans or he would get a plane home! The big supermarket that Arjun takes me to is not much further but when the sun is out that distance becomes a bit daunting and uncomfortable and they only do barbecue flavour beans. Luckily, on our journey out yesterday ( when I got Arjun back) we found the store had moved down the road the other way and still within walking distance. All is saved and Milo will be stopping a bit longer. It's strange, I used to have a job where I thought about quite intelligent things ........


It was my birthday and I had a lovely day. I went shopping with Andrew and we all went out for an evening meal (where I practised my Hindi with the toilet attendant!) The next day, Sheetal, our immediate neighbour invited me round for a coffee. When I got there, there were a few other ladies  there for an afternoon tea/coffee party with a beautifully made birthday cake and candles. It was a lovely surprise and so kind.  

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...