Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vexing Sunday

We had a rather awkward Sunday today. In fact, it was the most vexing Sunday we've had since our second week here in India, when we all had the flu. Compared that, of course, today was cake and I have absolutely no business complaining. But of course that day is in the past and today is still today, so I will complain. But just a little.

First off, we were waiting for two deliveries this morning. One was a somewhat unexpected delivery from Flipkart (sort of like Amazon in India). It was somewhat unexpected because Robert had ordered the books, but we didn't know they'd be delivered today.

Side note: yesterday, while we were having lunch with some friends, the Flipkart delivery guy, who has delivered to us so often that he waves when he sees us out and about in the neighborhood (no, I don't want to think about how much our luggage is going to weigh, why do you ask?), called to say that he was trying to deliver a book to us, and we weren't home. This was another somewhat unexpected delivery, as we hadn't even been notified by Flipkart that he was on his way. Robert directed him to our friends' apartment, though and all was well (except that we had to borrow Rs. 2 from our friend to pay the guy because we didn't know he was delivering to us!).

Anyway, the Flipkart delivery went off without a hitch. The trouble was with my BigBakset order. I'd scheduled it to be delivered between 10am and 1230pm, and they've never been late before. I was sure that would give us plenty of time to have our customary leisurely Sunday lunch at Prakruthi before returning home for a quick afternoon meeting with our jeweler.

The hours ticked by. I got hungry, and then hungrier. At 1230pm my phone rang. It was the driver, and he was at the campus, he said, but couldn't find us. I tried to help, but the language barrier was too high, so I ran out to the lobby and asked the manager of our apartment building to help. She spoke to him for a minute or two (I caught the phrases, "IISc", "New BEL road", and "MS Ramaiah Hosptial" several times each) and then handed back the phone with a smile saying she'd given him our apartment number, but would send him on when he arrived.

Twenty minutes later he wasn't there, and I got a call from the driver again. He was still not sure which gate to use. I told him, and he hung up. A minute later BigBasket customer service called, telling me the driver couldn't figure out which gate to use. I told that guy too, and he assured me the driver would be there within 30 minutes.

To make a long story short, the driver apparently gave up at that point. After 4-5 more calls to and from BigBasket, they finally admitted that he wasn't coming and rescheduled the delivery for between 730-10pm. Since we'd  missed lunch time I cooked some rice and gave the kids that along with almond butter, pomegranate and watermelon.

After lunch I bathed Liel and then told Zion to take a shower. He'd been in there about 5 minutes when Liel ran into my room to tell me that there was "a big puddle of water outside the bathroom door". Confused, I went to look, and lo! there was a huge puddle of water seeping out from under the bathroom door, and it was rapidly spreading into the living rom. I threw open the bathroom door (remember, our bathrooms here are a single room with a toilet and a shower head, and found that it was totally flooded and not draining at all. I howled at Zion to turn the damn water off and Robert and I started throwing towels onto the floor (remember- we have no washer and dyer and hand washing towels is a bitch!). When we'd stemmed the tide Robert ran to the front desk to report to the manager that our bathroom had flooded.

A few minutes later a slightly confused looking maintenance guy rang our doorbell. He peered into the bathroom, left, and came back witha  squeegee, a plunger, and a few tools. Then he shut himself in the bathroom, and there was much banging and squelching. Ten minutes later he emerged, told us that it was all fixed, smiled, and left (after we'd tipped him for his prompt and salvific actions). The water was gone- at least in the bathroom. At that point the jeweler was due in 10 minutes, so we scrambled around sopping up the water in our living room and washing the towels. Really only Robert washed the towels, because he a laundry saint. With moments to spare I got the last of the puddles off the floor and collapsed.

And lucky we were that it was all sorted out by then, because our jeweler brought his 4 year old daughter and 16 year old cousin (who begged come along to meet us because we live in New York and he is a fan of some particular type of professional wrestling in which New York is doing well). It was an interesting visit actually. It was the third time we'd met with the jeweler (who is a lovely person) and the first time that he asked many questions about our life in New York. His questions included: were we veg in New York, or non veg? Did we eat at restaurants every day in New York? Is it true that in America parents don't tell their children what they must be when they grow up? Do Americans eat pizza and burgers every day? Then he asked for a picture of him with the four of us, which brings our number of family portraits with Indians up to two (and I asked him to send me a copy, of course)!

After that we left for an early dinner, so as to be back by 7pm. Our usual route through the forest, however, was totally blocked by a huge troop of monkeys. There must have been at least two dozen of them, and they were none to intimidated by the big stick Robert tried to use to disperse them. So we retreated and took a different route. I was carrying a tote back with water in it, and the local monkeys have show a fair bit of interest in anything we carry in bags. That plus the disease that we've been warned some of them carry was enough for us to decide that it was better to be safe than sorry. But really- no grocery delivery, flooded bathroom and living room, and now monkeys blocking the damn path??

Luckily dinner more than made up for the stresses of the rest of the day, and I can explain why in three words: paper masala dosa. Sadly, there are no pictures though. But it was truly delightful and I promise to take a picture of the next such event.

It was a damn good thing we left so early for dinner, too. We got home at 630pm and hadn't been home 2 minutes when the doorbell rang. It was our groceries. Happy they were there, and happy WE were there. Annoyingly, the chicken and mysore pak were both missing.  Happily the delivery guy came back half an hour later with the chicken, but the mysore pak was not to be had. The lazy in me is sad about this, but the foodie in me wonders if this will motivate us to start sampling the mysore pak at the local sweet shops. And I have no idea which side will win! Which makes it kind of exciting.

So that was my vexing Sunday. I'm rounding it off with a gin and tonic and some blissful silence while the kids sleep. 

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