Thursday 7 October 2021

October 2021


October 2021



 When we decide to go shopping, we need a plan. The shopping mall is enormous, and we all need different things. Both boys are rather fussy now with what they want to buy. This involves a longer time for the whole trip. I have decided that Andrew is the best choice as he is a boy! We go off in different directions and agree a meeting time.

Andrew and I are going to an event where we need smart well-designed clothes. This is quite hard to achieve as there are lots of shops for every-day clothes and, of course, lots of saree shops but smarter Western clothes shops are harder to find. I don’t like wearing sarees, as to me, being wrapped in an underskirt and then metres of fabric is not a cooling experience. I find them claustrophobic, and I want to desperately to unravel the material as I get hotter and hotter, but that is not a good thing to do in public.

There is a Calvin Kline shop in the mall and a few potential dress shops that I can go to. I went in there and saw a very nice dress that would be suitable. I asked about sizes. The assistant looked me up and down and reckoned that I would be an EXTRA LARGE! ( She was a young girl and not that slim herself ) She said that they didn’t have that size, but they had a medium or a small and would I like to try them ? I said that if she thought I was an extra- large then why would a medium or a small fit ? 

"What are the measurements of a medium? "I asked.

 She looked at me blankly, stretched the dress in her hands and pulling it at the waist, said seriously, “it is this size," as if the actual measurements would magically appear.  I just stared at her. She sullenly went off and walked slowly to the back of the shop to double check if there was an extra large. She came back insisting that the smaller ones would fit. Andrew had found me by this time, I explained , he laughed , we rolled our eyes and left. 

 I went to another dress shop and the assistants were falling over themselves to serve me and this time it was the reverse with the service. They couldn’t do enough but they wouldn’t let me look without talking and did not listen to what I was saying, instead all I got was, “Would madam like a handbag ?” Would madam like blue trousers ?” “Would madam like this or that ?”

Even after explaining what I wanted, they kept rapidly suggesting items like it was a quick fire game, suggesting obscure things that were not suitable. 

‘No, I do not want a pair of jeans, I would like a dress!” 

“No, I do not want shoes”.   I was constantly repeating myself. 

It was exhausting. 

I gave up.

Next, I went to Marks and Spencer, hoping that I could possibly find something there, but they have all the winter clothes in their shop. ( It was 31 degrees on Saturday, and I do not fancy a thick woollen dress and a padded jacket, thank you ). But here in India, M and S does not seem to have the same quality, so I abandoned that idea too.

 It was time to meet up the boys again. They had bought football boots and t-shirts.

Andrew had found nothing. He was having the same problem. Plenty of casual things but no well- made clothes.

 Meanwhile, we needed to buy some wine glasses, so we popped to the home centre place.

It was super busy with people buying things for the holidays that are coming up.

I got a lady assistant to get me 3 boxes and she put them on the counter in the queue. A man came up and put his 6 cups on top of my boxes. I knew that he was sneakily trying to jump the queue. I said nothing. 

The assistant on the till went to get one of the cups to scan it and I said as loudly as I could,“ that belongs to the man behind me.”

 I got the cups and handed them to the man and smiled ( through my mask ) and said sweetly, “ I know you won’t mind waiting another 5 minutes.”

To which he replied “ but I am in a hurry "

“so am I," I said, smiling again and holding his gaze.  

He held on to his cups and looked away.

 Round one to me !

 The subsequent buying of the glasses took ages. The assistant opened each box and ran his finger around the rim of each glass to check, so 18 in all ( very good ). He then painstakingly put the boxes into bags and got me to google pay the amount. He slowly passed the receipt to a colleague who passed the receipt to me ( I hope there’s no germs on anything ). Then, another person got the bags and handed them over. I politely thanked all three and thanked the man behind me, who really did not know how to respond.

I went to the door where the guard had to check my receipt, punch a hole in the receipt and look in my bag.

 Shopping is an exhausting process here and I still do not have a new dress so I will wear an old one. 


We went last night to the event at The Taj in the centre of Bangalore to say farewell to the Deputy High Commissioner, Jeremy and his wife, Amanda. There were posters of James Bond everywhere and all the cocktails were based on the different films.


 In the shopping centre, on the top floor, there is a cinema complex. The cinemas are allowed full capacity now. We had booked to see the new James Bond film.

As it was Gandhi Jayanti day, where there is a celebration of Gandhi’s birthday, no meat or alcohol is allowed so we were restricted to food choices as the restaurants were closed in the mall. But some of the fast food places were open. We approached McDonalds and were rudely told that they were open for lunch but only after 1:30. ( it was 12:30 ) We managed to persuade KFC to serve us some chips and super spicy chicken. This was in the NFC category. This is where the boys and Andrew taste the food first and decide whether it is too spicy for me. If it is too spicy then they declare NFC, Not For Carla . In this way I can subtly not eat the food without attracting a lot of attention. I had ordered a vegetarian burger  and my food tasters declared it  NFC.

We got to the cinema and handed in the shopping bags as you are not allowed them in the cinema. We had rejected  the 3D film due to my inability to see those films in focus ( I have never been able to watch a 3D film all the way through as it is all very blurred to me even with the glasses)  and we booked the Gold cinema  (with the 2D film) which has super large comfy seats. The seats recline all the way back, so you must be careful not to fall asleep. The film was so exciting and loud that there was no chance of nodding off.  Max and Milo were impressed. I was a bit disappointed in that there were no English subtitles. When I watch a complicated film, I like to read all the names and the information as it makes me remember who is who and what is going on. Usually in India, for the English films there are the subtitles to help everyone along. So, this time I had to go over the story with everyone in the car on the way back. If Arjun wants to watch the film, he already knows the plot!


 When we went to the cinema, we knew that we would quite a while so we left the CCTV cameras fixed on the places that we thought Andy would sit. We realise now that we don’t need to worry when we go out. Andy spent most of his time sleeping on the bed ( he’s not allowed !) or sat by the downstairs window watching the other dogs of Palm Meadows go by. He was not in the least bit stressed or bothered.

 He had behaved himself while we were out but the other day, he had a very naughty day. Grace is away at the moment, so we have her friend, Geraldine, helping with the cleaning. Geraldine put her lunchbox on the kitchen counter and got on with the cleaning. As Max and Milo are doing their exams at home online, this meant that Andy is wandering in the garden and around the house unsupervised as I invigilate them. After a while, Geraldine came to get me and was very worried. Andy had somehow managed to get her lunch box, chew off the plastic lid (it was all in pieces) and then he had eaten all her food! Geraldine was worried, mainly because she is diabetic and had gone to get her food, noticed that her food was gone but needed food quickly due to the diabetes. This meant she had “taken “ some of our bread for toast before asking me. I pointed out that eating two bits of toast without asking was not a crime and nothing to worry about. I did offer to get her a takeaway as this is very easy to do. Indian food is available from early in the morning, but she was happy with the toast. I need to replace her lunchbox now.

 Andy spent the rest of the day flashing his puppy eyes at me after he got a good telling off. He looks so innocent at times.

Over the next few days, though, he redeemed himself. Every time we went for a walk, he kept sniffing around the drainage pipe down the side of the house and he would pull towards it. Up on the terrace, he kept sniffing at the drainage hole and sitting close by as if guarding something.

Then, yesterday we were having our morning coffee and I saw a rat/mouse run behind one of the plant pots on the terrace just where Andy has been investigating and sitting. Much screaming and yelling ensued as we tried to see where it had gone.A trap was set and during the night the rat was caught.

Andy is a clever boy. If only he could talk. 

 The building work.

 The boys are enjoying school but decided to do their exams online from home this week. There has been a bit of disruption though as they try to concentrate due to building work going on behind us. Two houses are being renovated. It is very intriguing because this is happening a lot now in Palm Meadows. Whereas in the Uk, we renovate from the inside to improve the house, here they virtually knock the house down using one tiny pneumatic drill and then build it back up again using a only a couple of people. The drilling never seems to stop because there is only one man on the job. 

The thing is that the owners don’t have to listen to the noise as they go to live somewhere else while the renovation is being done.

 The renovations are all very well but there are  two men with pneumatic drills, one in each house, and then two men with sledgehammers doing this work. There’s shouting, smashing of tiles and glass and worst of all the high pitching wailing of famous Indian songs blasting from phones. Some Indian songs are lovely but some are a bit trying and I really do not want to hear them in between the drilling. But I can’t escape as the pool is not open still. There is a slow thud, thud, thud and then drilling. It is so loud, and it takes so long. Initially, we were told only 7 days of drilling etc, but with Indian Stretch Time (IST) this has turned into at least two months ( so far). I am rather concerned about some people’s ability to count to 7. 

My other problem is that is is fine for some people to have drilling all day in their houses but as soon as you dare to play any music or make a noise after 10 pm then someone will send a guard to your house to tell you to turn it down 

The other day the drilling got even louder, and I looked across from the balcony to see a lone man with flip flops on his feet, on the roof of the house with a pneumatic drill. He was drilling into the tiles on the roof. He had no harness or anything to stop him either dropping the drill over the side of the house or to stop him falling off.

I have my phone ready ….


Even though there is a lot of noise, this only starts after 10:00 am ( but goes on until 6) Almost every morning for the past four years we have sat outside to have our breakfast in the sun shine, watching and listening to the birds. This was the day before yesterday. You would never know that beyond the gates of Palm Meadows it is very busy with people and traffic. There is no sign of it here and we can't hear the main road. This quietness usually is there all the time, hopefully the building work will end soon. 


 After the plumber fiasco, I was dreading the painter coming to the house to finish off where the plumber had been, but I am pleased to say it was a very positive experience. The young man was extremely conscientious, careful, and cleaned up after himself.  It made a change to have to not watch someone all the time and he did a good job. The awful thing was that I never got to give him a tip because he carried his ladder out and said he would come back but he disappeared. No doubt he will need to return to patch other things in the future.


Oh, my goodness me! Boris, what are you doing?

 On the news there have been the reports of Indian people having two shots of the vaccine Covishield and that it is not recognised in the UK. People from India are having problems if they want to travel to the UK. If Indian people go to the Uk they still must quarantine for 10 days and take 3 tests because of the Covishield. Last week, the Indian government decided to do the same to British nationals if they come here. They are playing a game of tit for tat.

 Now, Andrew and I have two Covishield vaccinations each and we are considered fully vaccinated. But we are British, so it looks like if we come to the UK we would have to quarantine twice, once on the way in and once on the way back and take a total of 6 tests and 20 days in quarantine, even though we are doubly vaccinated with a vaccine that is exactly the same as Astra Zeneca. It just has a different name and is made here in India. The dispute, allegedly, is with the registration site or Cowin, where the certificates are located and that there is no date of birth on them, just an age. We have found the Cowin site to be very good and efficient. Our certificate on Cowin is linked to our passport which have our dates of birth on. On the news, it keeps saying about Indian people being targeted and that the exclusion/ quarantine is racist but what about all the expats living here who have had the same vaccination?

There is no mention of us.

I would like to say that when all the vaccinations started, the French told their citizens to hold on and they flew Pfizer vaccines here for them. The French all went to the French embassy for their vaccinations.

The Israelis flew their citizens on a plane to Tel Aviv, injected them at the airport and flew them all back on the same day.

What did the Uk do ? I have no idea . 

 How come the other countries knew that the Covishield might not be accepted and warned their citizens ?

We have been reassured that there will be a favourable solution soon but I am with India on this one.


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...