Thursday, July 12, 2012

Welcome to India

Sorry readers.  I have had a longer absence, but when you hear what I have been through, I am sure you will be very sympathetic

June 29th, 2012 was a very momentous day for us. 
Following the lean principles of Just in Time, we closed at 8:30, packers left at 12.30, we cleaned house and handed over the keys at 6:00 pm.  And then we were homeless, just like that!  I could write about the feeling of emptiness or the melancholy of separating from a life you have built over 14 years.  But that would be depressing and I am sure my readers can understand and empathize with those sentiments.

On July 7th, at 4:30 am, our plane landed in Pune.  We had just 9 pieces of checked in luggage and 4 carry on suitcases.  We believe in travelling light... Just kidding.  There were a few anxious moments as we wondered if we would be harassed by the Indian Customs authorities for the many pieces of luggage we were carrying and also the jewellery that I was taking back.  However, that turned out to be an empty fear.   There is something unique in India where your senses are constantly bombarded with noises, and smells that you get inured to over time.  But the first time you exit the aircraft and enter the airport, you are assailed by strange smells and sounds that can be daunting to the faint at heart. 

Everything went smoothly, there were two large jeeps waiting to take us to our new abode, about 35 minutes from the airport.  And thus began our new journey.  The house is empty except for our suitcases and about 2 inches of dust accumulated over the three weeks that Giri was away.  First priority for me after a clean bath was coffee.  Of course we had no milk in the house.  And then as I was glancing outside, I noticed the milk delivery guy on his bicycle stopping at the neighbours house.  I ran outside and asked him for milk  and also told him to deliver every morning moving forward.  As easy as that, we had milk.  While I was talking to him, the lady next door stopped me.  Apparently, Giri's uncle had left some packages for us in the neighbours house.  She brought them out for me.  Juices, Water, sandwiches, everything we needed for our first morning survival was there.   This also allowed me to meet the neighbour who was very friendly and helpful.  While the concept of this total stranger agreeing to house the food and packages for an unknown neighbour was alien to us, I hear from friends that this is typical in India.  If you are not home, nobody hesitates to ask the neighbour to keep your stuff whether it is mail, returned dry cleaning etc.  Kind of a fringe benefit.

Sunday, the first order of business was to find a maid to do the housework.  Again to the western world this may seem presumptous and indolent, but life in India revolves around domestic help. We interviewed two maids from  a nearby village and after an exciting exchange with some pantomiming thrown in by me much to the amusement of our kids,  we acquired some help for the first month for the princely sum of $22. 

So long for now.  In the next post, I will explain to you the unique human resource skills needed to manage the household, domestic help.  It is an art dear readers and I am learning from people around me who have been doing it successfully for a long time.

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