Saturday 7 August 2021

The Coles in India - August '21 


Milo’s birthday

Swapna and Grace

Milo had Neel round for tea and they spent ages playing with the PC box.

It was Milo’s birthday on 15th July. Swapna and Grace made him a chocolate cake which was lovely. Milo had asked every day for about 8 months, in various modes of persuasion, if he could have a PC for gaming. He was prepared to go without everything to have one, including all future Christmas and birthday presents. He even managed to tidy his bedroom once or twice. He had promised us that he would earn lots of money and give some of it to us if he could have a PC. After much internet research and advice, we managed to find one to buy for him ( there was a shortage here ) He is so pleased, and mealtimes are spent with him chatting in a jargon that Andrew and I do not understand  at all as he discusses his online gaming. It has been three weeks, though, and there is still no sign of any big earnings yet. He says we just need to give him time!


Max’s birthday

The cake was rather rather large

Grace and Swapna presenting Max with his flowers

He got a mug that looks like a camera lens

Max was 15 on Thursday. He has achieved so much and is such a kind, considerate young man. He has gone from being nervous and shy to being confident and able to chat to anyone. We are so proud of him. When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said that he needed a pencil case as he had run out of pens! No big fancy presents for him. He now has plenty of pens (and other gifts too.) He is thinking what he would like with the money he got from everyone.

Swapna and Grace went to town on an enormous cake for Max after the success with Milo’s cake. When they were secretly trying to hide the cake from Max, I happened to see what they were doing and how big it was. So, when I said, “ will it fit in the fridge?”, their eyes widened. I could see their desperation.

Grace wailed “ oh no, we hadn’t thought of that!”

We have two fridges, one belonging to the house which is not in such a good working order, but it does work and it has wider shelves. I set about removing all the beer and wine (emergency stocks in case of a sudden lockdown) so that one shelf was completely empty. Luckily, the cake, on its silver board, just managed to fit in so it was safely hidden from Max.

He had to spend the day online at school, but he had a happy day. He was impressed with his cake although the firework candle was rather rubbish and just exploded.  


 Online school has started on the 2nd August. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon as the local government is toying with the idea of opening schools like the rest of the world. But then in Kerala, which is the state next door to Karnataka, the numbers are beginning to go up. Now, the people are only allowed cross the border if they have a negative test. The school that the boys go to have gone to great lengths to get the school ready to open and reckon that they can open within 24 hours of the government giving the go ahead. Fingers crossed it will not be long, they have been online for 17 months now. In the paper today it says the local government have said that schools can open from August 23 rd. Fingers double crossed .


Micro containment

The numbers of covid are stable, we think, but the local government department, the BBMP, (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) has a new strategy to manage any surge in numbers. We all know that things got out of hand in the last wave and that the government is keen to prevent another dreadful wave but what they have done yesterday is a bit bonkers.

We have had no covid cases in Palm Meadows for 75 days. Then, 3 people have been tested positive within one household and have honestly informed the authorities (which you must do). But they have done what they are supposed to do.

The other night, we all got a message on the community app to say that the house had been barricaded & sealed and the surrounding villas, in front, behind and to the side, had been put in to quarantine until everyone, including staff have been tested. But, even if the residents test negative, they must isolate and “must not walk on the road “. Although it states, the staff can come back and work if they test negative. This would mean travelling on buses and mingling with the general public, but the residents are not allowed out for 14 days! 

Meanwhile, the BBMP will do surprise visits to check on those people. That will keep them on their toes!

Unfortunately, not all Indian people have rational thought  and are sympathetic. There is a lot of blame put on people who get Covid and they are shouted at, or shunned. We had one case before where one household in Palm Meadows were demanding that their neighbours keep their windows closed in case the virus managed to leap through the open window! Luckily, the people on the committee here are very good and will help the family out, getting supplies and anything the 'patients' need. Most people here are sympathetic, kind and will do anything to help others, it is unfortunately the minority who can make others feel really uncomfortable.

I went for a bike ride this morning, like I do every day and I went past the 'targeted' house. There was tape all around the trees, the pathway and house. All the neighbours were being tested by the suited medical staff. I peddled away quickly just in case the virus was pouncing on people as they went past!

Andrew has regular tests and he had had a test yesterday, so as we were reading this message the other night, I was shooting daggers at him because if he was positive then the whole street would be put into quarantine!  (he’s negative, thank goodness) so I think the blame game is spreading!

The only problem with all this stigmatising is that it will stop people getting tested because if they are positive if everyone around their villa has to go into quarantine, whether they have had any contact or not. But, on the other hand, some people did blatantly leave their houses when they had been diagnosed with covid in the last wave, so I think the BBMP really can not win. 

 This was in the last wave where the BBMP sealed two flats with 2 children and a mother in one flat and an elderly couple in the other one.  Metal sheeting was used. The manager of the flats put it on twitter to complain, worrying about if there was a fire. The BBMP went back to remove the panels. But the fact that this idea was even considered, is the worrying part. Luckily, the house in Palm Meadows just has the equivalent of police tape around the trees.

Andy (The Dog!)

 Usually when Andy needs to see the vet, the vet comes to the house and all is well. We wanted to get Andy neutered (still referring to the dog!) so that he couldn’t entertain his lady friends so enthusiastically, but that vet’s surgery is an hour away. There is another pet hospital nearby with a good reputation, so we decided to take Andy there. We had booked his appointment for 11 am on a Saturday rather than a week day because I really needed Andrew with me as there is no way I can lift the boy as he is so heavy.

The problem was that the whole of Bangalore was there with their pets.

Andy was wild. He just saw that there were lots of dogs to play with and cats to chase. It was chaos! In the UK, a visit to the vets is a quite an ordered occasion but not in India. Although, why we thought it would be any different, I don’t know.

Andy had had no food or water for a long time and was so excited about all the new friends that keeping him calm for the two hours that we had to wait was quite an ordeal. Eventually, we were put in a room after he had had his blood test, and he was given his first sedative. He started to get wobbly and sleepy. The trolley he was on only just managed to squeeze him on, we held on to him so he didn’t fall. Then we noticed that the trolley didn’t have wheels. If I was a vet, I would have wheels on a trolley with a heavy unconscious dog on and then wheel them into the operating theatre.

Oh no! When it was time, four men appeared, and they unceremoniously lifted Andy between them and took him away.

Honestly, wheels have been invented and it would be a good addition in this circumstance. Just push the trolley and then there would be no chance of twisting or dropping an enormous dog.

They told us to come back in two hours.

We had a spot of lunch and returned.

All around us dogs were barking, whining, and trying to play with each other. Also, the floor was slippery as it had been raining and people were trying to hold on to their dogs. They ended up being pulled along as they could not get a grip on the floor. A lady with a mop was trying in vain to keep the floor dry by darting out each time someone came in.

After a short while, the vet appeared to say that Andy was ready. The four men appeared with him held upside down semi consciously by the legs and put him on another trolley to recover. (If they had had one with wheels it would have so much easier)

 I dodged the mopping lady and I went to pay the bill. I turned around and found that Andrew and Andy had disappeared. Somehow, they had managed to get Andy out of the building without slipping, down some steps and into the back of the car.

We got him into our house after padding the front room floor with his basket and lots of towels. Andrew managed to carry him on his own He was super sleepy for a couple of hours and then seemed to perk up wanting to go outside. He had a cone 'of shame' around his neck to stop him reaching his stitches, but he couldn’t judge the distance he needed to get through the door or past the table. He spent quite a lot of time bumping into things including trees for the next week. It was very entertaining for us. He was soon dashing about and wanting to go for a walk. I also had to come up with some inventive ways to get him to take his 4 tablets a day. Hiding the tablets in cheese seemed to work the best until he realised what was happening and then he would spit out the tablet after eating the cheese. I then made a mini toast sandwich and put the tablets in there.  This was my back up plan and worked long enough for him to finish them all. He is back to normal now and if any of his lady friends come round to play, we know we can leave them without supervision.


The Palm Trees

In Palm Meadows, every avenue is lined with beautiful palm trees. They are very tall. As the tree grows it sheds the older leaves at the bottom. They  will fall onto the roadway or paths.  The gardening team try to go around cutting them all down using a cherry picker, but it is a constant never ending job. But they do miss some and there have been a few occasions where the falling leaves have nearly hit people. They fall with an almighty whoosh too...

They have come up with a simple but clever idea. They have tied a special fabric 'belt' around the top base of each tree. As each bottom leaf turns brown it is held in place by the strap and cannot fall. Now, the gardening team do not have to worry and rush so much. People can walk without having to keep one eye on the palm trees. We can instead focus on our feet and keeping a look out for the snakes that like to come out to hunt all the frogs that are around because it is monsoon.


You can just about see the tie underneath the palm leaves .


 Other activities

This is a guava from a tree at the factory, it was very juicy.

Andy loves his crate. He doesn't sleep in it yet, but likes to take all his treats in there. 

One of the many football matches that they had to stay up until 3 in the morning for. 

Both Milo and Max have bank accounts with their own debit cards. Max was embarrassed one day when he went for  a coffee. He had cash but the shop only accepted cards,he had to ring me and ask me to pay with with the online bank. Milo took Andrew out for a drink at the club so he could use his card.

Micronclean India wins two contracts with Covid Vaccine Mfrs. 

There was some very exciting news at Micronclean as the sales team managed to sign up two very important contracts with Indian companies producing Covaxin and Sputnik vaccines. They have had some fantastic feedback from auditors and industry experts that have praised the facility for its excent design and quality. Andrew has even had suggestions that it exceeds some of the manufacturing facilities, so you never know if laundry is scarce then Micron-Vax vaccine production could be a side line! 

As part of the regular dialogue with the British Deputy High Commission Team, they have been very helpful in further amplifying the good news across their media platforms, which has a little more circulation than our blogs! Proud to have this backing from the Department for International Trade for our UK based business. 


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...