If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Jan 7, 2010

Pretty maids all in a row.

Baba is running out of control once again. She runs behind him . Re setting shop displays that have tumbled in his path. She can't keep up. A second to do what takes a million to redo. She can’t chastise him. The memsaab has said no shouting at him. Definitely no hitting him. He hits her.
“ arre he’s so small how hard can he hit you”. The other customers glare at her. She’s supposed to keep the brat under control. Something his own parents can’t do. Not that they’re trying, with cell phones in hand, beauty parlour appointments to keep, kitty parties to attend.
At the restaurant they order for her. While she sits at a tale with the other maids. And the children. At least here she does’nt have to do the dishes at the end of a long day. Baba is winding down. He wants to be carried. 26 kgs. In the car later she’s asked how she liked it. Very nice, very nice. Very nice that they ordered the cheapest dish on the menu for her. Very nice that she sat at a table where she had to ask three times for a glass of water.
Did she mind sacrificing her Sunday afternoon off. Baba had to be taken for his cousins birthday tea party ?
Did she mind not having her friends visit her in the building?
”But they meet me down stairs Madam.”
“Yes but the committee says they don’t want strangers coming in and out.”
Did she mind staying up late Saab was going to be late today and you know how he likes his parathas hot.
There was a scene at the club because they now charged even domestics the guest fee.
“How can you ? It’s like they’re not even there.”
“Sorry Madam secretary’s orders.”
A thousand square feet of living space. All she gets is space for her trunk. Tin. With a mirror on the inside of the lid. So that the mirrors in the house don’t wear out if she uses them?
“ Madam I’ll be leaving in three days.”
“For how long ?”

“For how long I said.”
“ Madam my father has a cataract and needs me in the village.”
Later the saab comes home.
“ I told you, you were spoiling her. The more you do for them the more they sit on your head. Ungrateful wretches.”

Jan 4, 2010

Dear John,

Many thanks for your Christmas letter. Its great to know that all of you are in good health. Susan doing ballet. Wow. At 7 years she’s already had her first performance. I now feel a bonding with her. Because every morning I’m doing pirouettes in and out of local trains while holding onto the barre. The next time you’ll are here I’m going to take her on a quality time train ride with me. The house is looking great. The oak tree in the foreground just looks more majestic with each years picture. Wish I could say the same about our gulmohur. Yeah the same one we used to climb on for our games of Jack and the monkey. It fell. Adding insult to injury we had to pay the BMC to take it away.
You guys have really been travelling. Machu Pichu. Orlando. We now have a theme park here too. At Gorai. Remember the ferry crossing at Marve? The tonga rides to Manori. Esselworld. People who have seen Disney world and Esselworld have told us it’s almost as good. A bit smaller though.
You going to China on work.Wow ! I was selected to go to Sri Lanka for the company sales rep conference too. But at the last minute it was called off. Cost cutting they said. Hopefully next year my sales will be good too. They’ve promised us a conference in Bangkok.
How do you find the time ? With Sue and Randy and all their homework and classes. It’s great to know that Randy is now playing baseball for a team. I remember his cricket game when he came down last year. And how insulted he was when the kids started calling him No Ball Randy. I hope John has thought him what a no ball is. The time ? Yes the time do have book readings and attend wine tastings. If they had free wine tastings here the crowd would be bigger than St. Michael’s on a Wednesday.And you say hardly anybody comes ?
This years Divali holidays we were in Lonavla. St. Stanislaus villa. Mass every morning. Their sooji and puri bhaji is not as good as it used to be. The cook is now some UP guy. I wish the old cook had shown him how to make a decent cup of coffee before he died. We now have Barista here. Indian Starbucks. Thirty bucks for chai. Yes Thirty bucks. Even the Sea Rock coffee shop never used to charge that much. Someone told me that a cup of coffee at Starbucks costs twelve dollars. 12X 50. Geez. That’s 600 bucks. For coffee. For that kind of money you could get a share in a coffee planation in Mangalore. A small share. Ok .A very small share. If you are paying Rs. 600 for a cup of coffee please don’t tell your Mum. I met her in the bazaar last week and she was complaining how she’d just paid Rs100 for five bangdas. Your coffee price might send her straight to the Holy Family ICCU. Yes ICCU. First they only had an ICU. Now ICCU. So many heart attacks here.
You ended your letter with have a good one. I too started using that in my emails here. But some of these illiterates wrote back asking “have a good what?”. No class. But you Sue Randy and John have a good one. 2010 i.e.