Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It is a Good Thing

 That's what Mian told us as he peered into the distraught faces of his wife and pup. And it is, I agree. A wrap around porch, non-mud floors, a rat-free kitchen, open shelving, solar hot water..the list goes mouthwateringly on. Living there was becoming stressful, it is true.

But. There is always a but. And that but is summed up in this photo of Sho.

Our porch was always her favourite spot. There, she could sit in the morning sun and look out over the valley. More often than not, Mian and I would be there too. Belly rubs were there for the asking, and always there was the comfort of being in a loved place. 

Now that porch is no longer there. It has been ripped apart, the wood and stone stacked up to build our new house. All that remains is a bit of stone floor that the masons have retained. 

And the first thing Shona-Bhaloo did when we visited was to run over and plonk herself down in as close an approximation of that old spot as she could manage. Maybe that way, home would come back.
It should not be a surprise that both Mian and I teared up when we looked at her there. She feels exactly what we feel too. We miss our Chatola home. We want those mornings back. We want to huddle by the fire again. We want to wake up and watch the birds.

soon, soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baking day

Sourdough breads at our home.
My Mian, he bakes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A wide-spread besmirching of reputations

To understand how several reputations in the area were damaged in one fell swoop, you need to visualise several scenes.
Scene 1: A woman returning home after a week away from her husband and hearth. She should be happy and excited. Instead she is edgy, tense. At every bus stop she gets down, requests an extra 5 minutes from the driver and darts off looking for a chemist. The object of her search? Emergency contraceptives. I know what you are thinking; all the other passengers were thinking the same thing.

Scene 2: A man who has been alone and wife-less for the last week is busy on the phone calling everyone he knows of who might be travelling between towns. 'Would you mind stopping at a medical store?' he asks each one. 'I need emergency contraceptives. If you won't mind asking for them. Yes, I will text you the name.'

Scenes 4-9: A young and unmarried taxi-driver is ferrying his passengers from town A to town B. He requests a stop at every chemist and darts inside, only to emerge red-faced and empty-handed. What is he asking for, the passengers ask. 'i-pill' he mutters. The passengers sink into a stony and disapproving silence.

Scene 0 (the explanatory scene)
This actually is a series of phonecalls. But first a little background. Mian and I turned out to be procrastinating parents. 'We'll call the vet next week' was repeated often, and before we knew it, a lot of male dogs started besieging our home. Our little pup was clearly all grown up. We dealt with it for two weeks- a stressful experience for all concerned. Just as we were at the finishing line, Sho slipped her collar and got entangled (most literally) with a chap we had named Red1. (the others were Red2, Interloper, Tiger, Rocky, Scruff, and Black).

I cannot, I decided, deal with a litter now and so made perhaps the 2nd most embarrassing call* I've  ever made to her vet. He recommended the emergency contraceptive. And while we can buy instant popcorn in our neck of the woods, we don't have a chemist.

And this is why all of the Chatola area had to go  through that.
Shona and Interloper, before her parents figured out what was going on and became very nasty towards her dates.

* The most embarrassing call ever? 6 hours after the call to the vet, when I had to call up a most dignified neighbour and ask him if he could procure contraceptives for me..err..actually, for the dog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning plumbing

'I tried to change my eating style once', I told Mian in the middle of a mini-breakdown in the kitchen. 'I tried to do everything at once- low carb, raw, frugal- and I couldn't. I cannot handle too many variables at once. I could possibly stick to any one rule, but not all'. The bewildered and slightly worried look on his face reminded me that I was talking to a guy. Metaphors are not delicately coloured illustrations of life, they are mine-fields. 

'I can cook without a stove' I translated. 'and I can cook without water. But I can't do both.'

And that is the gist of our lives the past week.

Our beautiful, beautiful house took a battering in the monsoon, and began to fall apart. And the rats had gotten to an unmanageable point. So when A visited, looked at the place, and suggested rebuilding the house, we agreed happily. And yes, I am glad to be free of rats (almost..we still have a visitor), am glad to have a house that's easy to clean..but I do miss the old one.

Our gas cylinder sputtered out on the day of the move..and when we got here, we trusted in the pipeline and cleaned out the water tank.

The next day, we realised that a) for various reasons, we cannot get a new cylinder for the next 12 months and b) the pipeline- like Bertie Wooster's head- is more for ornament than use.

The food issue is okay- lots of roasts and breads and stews. Our solar oven and the electric one mean that the only thing I cant do is saute, and we can live without that. The water however, is another issue. I have no idea how we managed for the last few days, but now as I sit and write, I hear the sweet tinkle of water pouring into the tank.

And I learnt one very important, but saddening thing today. I wasted the first three years of my professional life BS-ing a lot of people. See, I worked for a plumbing consultancy, and my job was developing specifications for every teeny-weeny bit of the system. I had drawings and specs for the distances between pipes, and the way they are to be laid, for angles and curves, for thicknesses and weights. If I were to turn a pipe to the left, then down a wall, and along the floor, the drawings would have included one long bend, one elbow, one thrust block and umpteen spacers.

Not one of those specifications included bending a pipe by wrapping it around a tree. The humbling realization? It works. It might worry Shona, but  it works.