Saturday 29 June 2019

June update

Transport options

As my ambition to ride a Vespa is on hold - I think I'm still rather too wobbly to venture out into the traffic, I have decided that a tuk tuk or a small car would be a good idea. Milo went to the dentist the other day and, because Arjun was with Andrew, I was about to call an Uber for the journey back (we had gone to the dentist in one) when the dentist asked if we needed a lift as she was going past where we lived. That was so very kind. During the journey she convinced me that I needed a car to zip around in. Now, Milo loves this dentist, as she lets him watch a movie when treating him and she's very smiley ( beautiful teeth) and she even let him operate the X-ray button the other day when I needed an X-ray. To his mind, as she is so clever and always right, and because she has suggested it then he's on a mission to find me a tuk tuk.

Some people do have them here to pop to the shops and it means it's easier to carry the shopping and a child or two. When the factory is built, Andrew will be further away and I won't have Arjun so I definitely need a plan B!

Hospital and Snake number 2

Yesterday was hectic, Andrew often asks me what I do all day, and yesterday was good example of the chaos then ensues every shopping trip or event.
 I went to the shop in the Marriott hotel where we get our meat just after dropping off the boys at the summer camp and Andrew at the office.
 All I wanted was 8 pieces of chicken, that's all, not too difficult. It took 50 minutes! The lady on the till has to ring the chef who then gets someone else to pack the chicken to give it to someone else to bring, who then gives it to someone else to put in a bag, who then gives it to the girl on the till ...... the process is long winded and confusing, sometimes a person in the chain gets distracted ....
 I then set off back towards the shopping centre to go to the supermarket ( I should say we, as Arjun was with me). Max and Milo had gone to the summer camp but as we were driving nearby, Max called saying he had hurt his foot and could he go to the hospital?

So we went in to get him. The previous Friday he had dropped the base of the swing ball on his foot and his foot had swollen up but he managed to walk. Now, a five year old had trodden on him and his foot was swollen again and very painful.

We got to the hospital at 10:30am. We have been to the hospital several times but usually go as early as we can because it gets so busy and, again, everything is so chaotic! I checked in at two different desks before we sat and waited. Watching the other people, we noticed that if one person is ill then there are at least 4 people for support, making a total of 5. These people then split up and each directly approach a different member of staff to find out how long they have to wait etc. There was only me to pursue the nurses.

 On the desk, there will be one person operating the computer and then 4 nurses watching the operator so the queues get quite long. In some departments there are electronic numbers so you know when to go in to see the doctor but in the bone department, oh no, you have to telepathically communicate through a closed door with the doctor and play a guessing game as to where you are in the queue.

After half an hour, I went back to the desk and hovered near the nurses who looked at me sympathetically. Two more people then it's Max's turn, apparently.

Two more people went in, then we got up to go in. But someone else (with their entourage in tow) barged through so I went back to the desk. Yes, she reassured me, Max was next but those people are getting their x-ray results so they are not counted as being in the queue. (so we were number 4 not number 3?) I pointed out that it wasn't really that clear that this was the system. Anyway, we were next, she made a point of loudly telling us and the rest of the queue were very supportive in waving us through too.

Max needed an X-ray so now we had to register at another desk (again with spare nurses and people and just one person operating the computer, taking the money etc.) and wait for an x-ray.
Another hour ... then we went back to the original department. Now it was our turn to barge in the door when the nurse waved her hand at us upsetting the queue.
No broken bones but Max had sprained his ankle, we were given instructions and off we went ... it's 1:00pm now so its not been too long, just chaotic!

So, now I've still got the shopping to do.

Arjun drops me off at the supermarket and then takes Max home, Milo has gone home with some friends so I can get the shopping done. Arjun comes back and helps me with the shopping. The usual chaos of weighing fruits and vegetables etc but we get it done.

I'm back at the house by 3:00 pm. Mala, lovely lady, has made lunch without being asked so I get a bowl of biryani and go and sit outside only to notice a huge snake poking its head out from behind a flower pot, a few feet away from me.

In my panic, I forgot how to ring for help on the emergency app! So I ran inside( after closing the doors behind me) and yelled there was a snake.

Mala hid in the bathroom but Arjun came outside with me and he had a look. Meanwhile, I managed to activate the emergency call to the guards who came quickly with their snake catching gear. Mala came out of the bathroom but stood behind the closed doors.

The guards and Arjun found the snake hidden behind some bricks. As they set up their catching equipment, the snake darted out and they all ran back as the snake was huge! It quickly escaped under the fence behind and went into the neighbours garden. Apparently, they think it was a rat snake. After searching for quite some time and Arjun climbing and walking along the high wall, the snake had obviously disappeared.

It is still at large and the boys are banned from playing in the garden!

This took us until 4:30 - 5:00pm .... I managed to finish my cold lunch then I took Milo swimming as he was meeting his friends.

At 6:00pm we came back and I got the dinner ready because I had forgotten to ask Mala to do anything in all the kerfuffle of the day.

So when Andrew asks me what I do all day .......

Max and Milo

The boys are now on holiday for 2 months and are having a great time. Milo has been going to the school where I help out as there is a summer camp there. His friends go too and Milo has been very busy dancing, playing football and generally just hanging out.  In the afternoons there's more playing with friends at someone's house or at the swimming pool.
Max has been a few times to help out with the younger children but then after he dropped the weight on his foot, he's been at home or with his friends. Unfortunately, they've been leaving one by one to go back to their countries to live or to go on holiday. Max spends a lot of time on FaceTime to his friends who live in Bangalore ( but too far to pop to .... to get across Bangalore it can take over two hours) or he is on FaceTime to Seattle, or Gujarat, or wherever.


We are surrounded by mangoes wherever we go and the smell is wonderful. However, the maids and drivers and gardeners all get very possessive about the mangoes growing on the trees. The other day our neighbour's driver gave some mangoes to the gardener team. These are the gardeners who have to cut the grass with shears and pluck the weeds by hand so their level of earnings and standard of living is quite shocking. So we have no problem with them having anything that is going spare. But the maids down our road were most put out that the mangoes hadn't been shared out fairly.

So Mala was on the garage roof and up the tree collecting the rest of the mangoes with our personal gardener who has invented a mango picker - a carrier bag on a long pole.
These mangoes have been shared fairly between all the maids and drivers and, whoever was on the list, down our road.
Harmony has been restored and we have avoided a mango crisis!

Part of the Mango season is the onset of the 'Mango Rains' and to watch these storms can be spectacular as seen in this photo taken out of the window:


Baked Beans

But we do have a baked beans crisis. Milo had agreed to come to India only if he could eat Heinz baked beans. Finding that brand was doable but involved a lot of searching. In the supermarket the set of four had obviously been split and sold at extortionate prices individually but needs must. I could find two or three places with the Heinz variety but there's none to be found at the moment. My stockpiles have dwindled and we've had to buy some different brands. Andrew and Milo are horrified.

Andrew and I were invited to the Queen's birthday bash at the deputy high commissioner again and we were talking to the Deputy Head of Mission there. His family is down to 5 tins and they are being rationed until the shops rekindle their supplies. His wife is on the look out and so am I. She had searched and searched but to no avail. Andrew has since been in email contact  with him to see if their supermarkets have supplies( he lives in the centre of Bangalore and we are on the outskirts) and no beans have been found...
As soon as the beans appear on the shelves again there will be no mercy..... I'm going to buy as many as I can to avoid this happening again!


Face pack

I was sitting outside studying my Hindi the other day, when Mala appeared with a piece of snapped aloe leaf and some turmeric in a small bowl and half a tomato. Without much warning about what she was about to do, she lifted my hair back and smothered my face in the concoction. She then waltzed off with the departing words of 10 minutes.
 It actually felt quite nice and I'm sure I could feel my wrinkles disappearing... I washed it off after the said time and carried on working. Mala appeared a second time, this time with milk and a flour product called besan. She smeared it on my face and departed, indicating 10 minutes again. This time I looked like I had an orange face with lumps on it. The mask was even tighter. It took ages to wash off but my skin did feel quite smooth at the end. Apparently Indian ladies do this quite frequently, I just need more warning ...

The new Factory

There is lots going on at the new factory construction site and as part of the marketing of the company, Andrew and others from the UK and Indian teams, carried out some publicity at a trade exhibition in Mumbai. Here you can see them in action.


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...