16 Mar 2009

Home Sweet Indian Home

Another hot, blue sky morning, but on this one we checked out of the lovely Cabana hotel and hired our most expensive cab yet, one block away to our new hoxme. With so little luggage, it only took us a few moments to unpack, just in time for lunch with our new landlord and her family. We accepted this unusual, but very welcome invitation after our meeting to sign the rental lease, over drinks to close the deal, a few days before.

I’m beginning to get used to the generosity extended to us by people here – although my natural English disposition finds it a little uncomfortable to be so warmly welcomed and waited on in someone’s home. But, as was pointed out to me by my dear “grandmother-in-law” our British or maybe London preference for meeting friends in bars and restaurants as opposed to inviting them home, could account for such inhibitions.

On the top floor of the house, amongst the trees and singing birds we chatted with our new neighbours; Mrs Sharma – who reminded me of my own late Nan, Christine and Sunil Sharma and their daughter Kara soon to be studying in Australia. Picking up tips on where to get food, good restaurants that deliver and how to deal with our new maid, I kept having to pinch myself, disbelieving the support and kindness offered – including a tour of the local market from their daughter. Mrs Sharma who spoke no English but understood most of what we said spent much of the time repeating our unfamiliar, funny sounding names then inviting me to visit her whenever I am bored!

Lunch was a feast of stunning Indian food including dhal, basmati rice for me and homemade roti – (unleavened bread also known as chapatti) for the others, aloo gobi, fried bitter gourds, raita, chopped salad and a couple of other dishes that I missed the names of but enjoyed all the same. Much of the conversation fell to food, and I was offered access to their recipe books, a collection much like my own, all the while wondering if they really meant it (my English-ness is so pronounced here!).

After lunch, we toured the market with Kara discussing the names of ingredients in the narrow, packed aisles of 'supermarket' the size of a corner shop at home. When I asked if you could get tinned tomatoes a staple ingredient for me, Kara laughed saying we can buy fresh all the time! The next stop was fruit and veg from men with carts in the street. Local bananas, apples and watermelon plus warm plum tomatoes, potatoes (aloo) and onions, all for a mere INR70! Next time Kara said to learn the word for fresh coriander as I should get a complimentary bunch...

So the past days have been spent setting up home and enjoying the space. Phone lines, broadband and cable TV were magically installed within a day of moving in, I made a start on store cupboard ingredients and utensils but I am still on the hunt for a washing up bowl...they don’t seem to use them or sink plugs here...But in a kitchen without hot water, who cares? We have 6 large rooms and a back yard of our own to lounge, cook, eat, roam and live in.

Enjoying the sun in the back yard

1 comment:

H.Peter said...

I love it.
Great move. Great Blog.

we used to import from India, but have sicne moved on to China, for some different reasons.

Always enjoyed visiting India, warts and all.