It is funny, this place. Not laugh out loud funny. Not even smile-ear-to-ear funny. It’s kind of the-jaw-drops-to-the-floor funny. Weird funny. Want-to-punch-them-in-the-face funny.
We are put up in a serviced apartment. Today Mr. M picked up the morning newspaper outside our apartment and found that the pages were all jumbled up and some of the pages didn’t look quite as fresh and sexy as he expected a newspaper to look early in the morning. So he called the guy downstairs and asked him for a new newspaper. Sure enough, a fresh new, steaming hot newspaper was brought up to us by the caretaker’s assistant. He rang the bell (something he doesn’t deem necessary except when the door has been bolted from inside) and I answered the doorbell. As soon as I opened the door, he walked right past me into the house. Now I was confused as hell coz I wasn’t really sure if I was the intruder or he was. For a moment I was convinced that I was in his apartment, standing in his way. Just as I was about to apologise and step out of the house, I realised that this was actually our apartment, at least for the next couple of months. So, I asked him where he thought he was going and what he wanted. I was told that I needed to return the newspaper that Mr. M didn’t want. I did as I was told and he left. I shut the door and went in. After some time I heard some noise in the kitchen and when I went to check, there he was again setting up the table for breakfast. I sure as hell didn’t hear the doorbell ring. Neither had he knocked. He had just decided to walk into our home because he had chores to finish.
As luck would have it, the TV stopped working after a while. A repair-boy was sent to fix it and needless to say he happened to be equally strange. He came, he disconnected our Tata Sky connection and connected the cable. He didn’t think it was important or even necessary to ask us before making the change. If not for Mr. M, I wouldn’t have noticed a thing and would have happily thanked the fellow and let him go. But Mr. M, with his razor-sharp observation skills and sensitivity to anything even remotely related to the idiot box, noticed the difference immediately and asked him what was going on. The boy looked quite taken aback at Mr. M’s question. I don’t think he quite understood why Mr. M was being such a stick in the mud and insisting on having a tata sky connection instead of making do with cable tv. Anyway, it took a bit of convincing before he agreed to switch it back to the original set-up. Then came the housekeeper. And now there was no stopping them. There were at least 3 different guys walking in and out of our house like we didn’t exist. No knocking. No ringing the bell. They just came and went as they pleased. We could have just as well been ghosts.
That’s India for you. One is constantly surrounded by people who don’t understand the concept of drawing a line. We saw a guy pinching the cheeks of two white kids on his way out of the elevator. Just like that. A total stranger to those kids and he thinks it is okay for him to pinch any child’s cheeks as and when he pleases. From their reaction, it was clear that they hated it. I am pretty sure he wouldn’t even know how to spell the word ‘line’ let alone drawing it! Here you will find people who have an opinion on everything that is none of their business but will do nothing to help you when you actually need them. And I totally understand why Ka keeps saying, “Imagine what it is like to be a child!” I am not sure if she realises that we don’t really have to imagine it. We just have to take a little walk down memory lane and we know exactly where she’s coming from. We have been there, done that…well…actually…been there, felt that!
As for our stay here, I better learn to work around all these idiosyncracies and make the most of it. I like the food and the shopping and the dhobi who saves me the trouble of having to iron clothes. I also like the fact that I can get a pedicure, facial, head massage and my eyebrows threaded anytime without having to give away our life savings.
As for those ‘special’ people who have trouble drawing lines, I will go out and spend some money on a hockey stick and a taser!!!