Mathru School for the Differently-Abled
Christmas Eve, 12/24/1213
The good news is that I'm back up and functioning, to some extent anyway, after almost forty hours being down and out for the count. I woke up Sunday with laryngitis and felt lousy all over, but still had a good time shopping with Muktha and Andy.
She took us to Bangalore's version of a big shopping mall. Lots of small shops and vendors, but in an environment much easier for me to handle (the floors were all smooth and level, for one thing). We found a shop that sold salwi kamezes -- traditional everyday women's garb of tunic and ankle-hugging pants -- and fabric sets to have outfits custom made. Andy and Muktha helped me pick out two sets; one a three-piece set in the deepest turquoise, emerald green and purple colors, all printed with a light overall pattern. The other is combination of ruby red and bright indigo navy colors. I can hardly wait to have them sewn up. Both sets of fabric were good-quality silk-cotton blends, and together cost about $25 USD. I don't think it will cost more than that to have them sewn up for me.
We also picked up a couple of cotton shirts -- the Indian version of the Hawaiian shirt -- for Andy, and a couple pairs of sandals for each of us. The prices were very inexpensive.
There were jewelry shops, sweet shops, table linen shops, shops of nothing but purses and valises, rug shops, and lots of little stands hawking local art. There was one ink drawing and painting of a goddess in beautiful intense jewel colors that I loved, but I hesitate to buy big pieces because they are had to pack. Plus, framed pieces are breakable and heavy to pack, and it can be a risk buying art as gifts for people unless you really know their tastes. I held off on getting anything, but Andy picked up a few small framed pieces that he really liked.
It was a nice little mall, and now I know just where I'm going to take Linds when she gets here in February.
Muktha took us to a nice Indian-Chinese restaurant for lunch. I just had a bowl of hot and sour soup, which was excellent, very hot, and absolutely sinus-clearing.
Even so, my head was aching and as soon as we got home I went to bed and stayed there until this morning. I tried getting up yesterday but Andy told me I was in no shape to teach, and I really wasn't. I'm way better today but still shaky, and will taketomorrow off too. I would anyway because Andy will leave tomorrow evening shortly after dinner, and we want a relaxed day together before he leaves.
There is one big plus, though. My LLBean capris were almost too snug when I left California, and now they're comfortably loose. I am VERY pleased about this.
We went to Bangalore's version of Lee Chong's Grocery Store out of Steinbeck's Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday today. Picked up some Americsn-sized mugs, napkins, green teabags and other treats for me to keep in my suite. And some good steel pans, knives and potato peelers for the cook here, Andy's noticed she's using some really beat-up stuff in her kitchen so we decided to give her a little Christmas present.
OK … some miscellaneous things Andy wants me to mention:
Andy has noticed how, during any thoughtful conversation or serious exchange of information (when negotiating the price of a few dozen cut plywood boards, for example), the listener will "bobble" his or her head. I don't see it, but I'm going to start looking to see if I can pick it up in the future.
The "first floor" here is really the first floor above the garage on the ground floor. The ground floor is the "zero floor." This is how it is for Sribi's house, and now I have a better picture of Mayu's "First Floor" on Carmichael Road address in Mumbai.
Another thing Andy comments on when we go to Srini's house is the size of the elevator from the garage to the upper floors. It's got to be the smallest one we've ever been in, about three by five feet.
Calendars here are vertical, not horizontal. That is, instead of the days of the week going across the top of the page from left to right, and the dates the same way underneath, calendars here have the days of the week listed in a vertical column on the left, and the dates listed accordingly in columns to the right. So the first day of the month is in the top left corner and the last day in the bottom right corner.
Finally, Andy wants to mention a story he read in a local newspaper, about a woman who's been working as a typist for the last forty years in a small building next to the courthouse. She types 120 words per minute using one fngerr, and types legal forms that cannot be submitted in handwriting. She charges 10 rupees (16 cents USD) per page. Definitely an inspiration for Otis in the RPSupport chatroom!!
Some things we wish we had packed:
More handkerchiefs. I threw in a few of my dad's old handkerchiefs at the last minute, not sure why, and now I know. Kleenex and other tissues do not exist here, and Andy and I have been going through the paper napkins and toilet paper like there is no tomorrow.
More mosaic tools. We have not been able to find the kind of wheeled glass nippers and tile nippers I use in my mosaic work. I'lll make do with the three sets I brought, and Andy will give Linda more sets to bring with her in February.
Things I sm glad I brought with me:
My LLBean Trail Comfort capris. Now that I've taken off a few pounds and am wearing them, I love them. They're light and cool but still substantial enough for comfort in the early morning chill, hand wash like a dream and dry in a flash, and the zippered pockets are handy for eye drops, CI batteries, rubber bands, allen wrenches, sore throat lozenges and whatever.
Masking tape. It's been highly useful transforming small boxwa into little organizer containers for me here. Andy and I used it to mark off the quadrants on the mosaic I made to test different grout formulas. I also used it to seal my shampoo and other liquid bottles so they wouldn't leak during the flight, and I'm sure I'll find at least one other use for it before I'm done here.
Which will be in about 7 more weeks after tomorrow. Then I'll have a week to go home on, via Hong Kong and Msnila, with Linda. I'm probably going to go to bed early and have a good cry when Andy leaves, but the next couple months are going to be busy and full and I will make the best of them.
In the meantime, the best of Christmas blessings and joy to everyone.