Monday, June 23, 2008

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

It's one of those strange days today.  My friend went for some laser hair removal, only to find out her appointment was delayed slightly due to the fact that four eunuchs - dressed in full sari's - were having their faces done... which made this bizarre story in today's Times of India even more apt.  (I had to look up tonsured too...)  But I'm not sure if that's actually as funny as the headline in today's Mirror:  Son Turns His Dead Dad into a Teapot  Gotta love the tabloids!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Where in the World

I was just having a little fantasy shopping in Louis Vuitton, Tod's, and Canali, and forgot for a moment where I was.  New York?  London?  Paris?  No, good old Bangalore!  And if that's not enough, Tiffany and Stella McCartney are opening in the same mall!  That tipped me over the edge.  When we arrived a couple of years ago, we got over excited at the tiny Marks and Spencer here.  No more, now you can go and splash out on shoes, bags, and jewelry much the same as your former colleagues are doing in London and New York.  The prices are comparable - i.e., high - plus a 12.5% tax but if the Dollar/Rupee exchange keeps going in our favour, who's gonna grumble!  Well, I do of course have one small grumble.  Small being the operative word.  I've never been able to buy shoes in Bangalore that weren't handmade because Indian women have tiny feet, certainly not the size of my plates.  Tod's could offer me a 38 in the shoe I liked; I need a 43...  Apparently big sizes are on their way... ah, one can dream.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

It's that time of year, it seems, when we as expats wave goodbye to many of the friends we've made during our time in Bangalore.  The longer we are here, the harder it gets.  The departures often coincide with the end of the school year; conversely, the arrivals happen between now and September.  The first year was ok-ish.  We had a couple of good friends leave, but a solid social circle remained; the second year was more difficult (two sets of friends to Singapore within a day of each other); this year is horrendous!  Four families with whom we have a lot of contact and spend much of our time are jetting off to the four corners of the earth - San Francisco, Shanghai, Beijing, Sweden.  At the moment the only upside I can see is more holiday destinations for us in the coming years.  But that doesn't help the day to day as you seem to be one of the only survivors in your group.  That said, little things like the arrival of a new foal at the stables make life a little more palatable during the tough times.  The little girl was born on Wednesday evening, and I had the thrill of meeting her at just 45 minutes old and her sucking my finger.  We watched her first steps, her first feed, and her first poop!  At just 18 hours old, she was frolicking around in the paddock.  It's times like this that you realize just what a genius mother nature is!  I will be needing many hugs from her in the weeks to come...

Friday, June 06, 2008

In Hot Water

Hot water is a bit of a luxury in India; we don't have it in the kitchen or in our bathroom sinks, but we do have it in two out of the three showers, provided by the ever reliable 'geyser.'  In the UK/India, a geyser, pronounced 'geezer,' is your water heating system, a small tank of water that you have to switch on to heat about 15 minutes before you need to bathe.  However, in the US, a geyser is pronouned 'geye-zer,' and is a gushing hot spring.

Well our Indian geyser was certainly a gushing hot spring today; in fact, in less than 90 minutes of us being out of the house, it had erupted and gushed gallons of water an inch deep in virtually every room in the apartment.  Thank god for tiled floors.  Thank god for inexpensive rugs.  And thank god for saddle blankets which soaked up a lot of it in one of the rooms!  It's not the first time the geyser has erupted, but it's certainly the most dramatic.  In the course of two years in this apartment, we've probably had each one repaired in some manner about half a dozen times.  And we will again on Monday!

The whole drama reminded me of the confusion over the US/English word geyser/geezer and its pronunciation:  Our friend Ben was visiting NYC from the UK and couldn't stop laughing when he saw the brand of water 'Crystal Geyser.'  Pronouncing it the US way, geye-zer, it doesn't sound funny; switch it to the UK way, geezer, and pair it with the word's other meaning, 'old man,' and you can see why Ben decided it was a great name for a bad drag queen.  I have to agree, although the name of the world famous Tupperware sales person, drag queen 'Dixie Longate' is certainly high up on the list.  Say it a few times and you'll get it...

(Just a Little) Sex and the City

Last night I went to my first Indian movie premiere, well, I guess you would call it a Bangalore movie premiere, which was in fact my first time inside an Indian movie theater.  Not that I don't like the movies, but with good quality fake DVD's readily available at $1 each, sometimes it's not worth the hassle.  But last night, friends and I went to see the eagerly anticipated premiere of "Sex and the City" and it was quite entertaining - both the movie and the experience.  For starters, there were more men flooding into the 10pm screening than you would EVER see in the UK/US; my husband wouldn't be rushing to see SATC anytime soon.  So, assuming they weren't there for the "City" aspect of the movie, I assume they were there for the "Sex."  In Bollywood movies, it's still mainly taboo for actors and actresses to even kiss, let alone swing virtually naked from a sex-swing as we've seen Samantha do in the past, so the skimpy outfits on screen last night would be near-porn for the censors here.  Which leads me to another thing.  I'm not sure if we actually saw the whole movie because of the censorship issue; there were definite jumps and stops and starts in the soundtrack which led me to believe that either too foul language or sexier scenes were cut, despite the fact that some of the movie was still quite risque, as you would expect.  Something I wasn't expecting was the on screen instruction at the beginning of the movie to "Stand for the National Anthem" which was then sung by a host of celebrities... Being British, it felt like it was time to go to bed as when I was a kid, they'd play the National Anthem on TV at the end of the evening's broadcasting (pre-24 hour TV, of course!)  This was followed by the obligatory movie trailers and an hour and a half of movie, before an unexpected interval:  the film stopped abruptly, everyone rushed out for a pee/ice-cream or both, then headed back for a second round of movie trailers and an equally abrupt resumption of the movie.  The last time I was at the movies and they had an interval was during "Out of Africa" which was about 9 hours long!  The trailers were quite entertaining:  really good trailers for some likely bad US movies and some really bad trailers for what could be good Indian movies (one was touting the fact that some actor was playing 10 parts in one movie; I guess he's the Indian equivalent of Eddie Murphy!)  SATC itself was entertaining enough to keep me awake, unlike the premiere of "Star Wars:  The Phantom Menace" in Leicester Square, London, at which I managed to sleep through the "most exciting section" of the movie, the pod race.  I can only blame that on too much pre-movie champagne, a humiliating stagger down the longest red-carpet in history (with people wondering, "who the hell is she?"), and a less than compelling story-line; I'm Star Wars old school.  So, back to last night.  Whilst there was no red carpet or champagne (no liquor licence) we enjoyed a free pepsi and popcorn, but bought our own Baskin Robbins.  All in all it was a great fun evening and a real 'taste of home' for those who miss the "City" that never sleeps.  Speaking of which, having got home at 1:30am (how can movie theaters stay open that late but bars and restaurants close at 11pm???) I desperately need some sleep before I head off to buy the fake DVD that is sure to be on-sale already.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

It's a Dirty Job...

... but someone has to do it.  Yesterday, it was me.  It was a first.  Here's a quick guide in case you want to try this at home...