So many things are happening, I am at a loss as to where to begin... re-locating, re-settling, home coming... call it what you may, the change is huge in all terms. From a calm, easy, pollution free, no noise absolutely place to a noisy, not so fresh air, 3 lane traffic in front of our house is what makes me compare each and every thing to the life in Bahrain.
Dawn breaks and the milk boy rings the bell indicating that the milk is delivered!
In Bahrain, there is no one who delivers milk at your door step every morning, "Almarai milk, I miss you!"
You have to be up and about by 6 in the morning at least; someone or the other will ring the bell invariably! It can be the garbage colleting woman, the paper boy or your friendly neighbor with an early morning tip!
In Bahrain do we have any of these?
My very own two legs are my Honda CRV! Did not understand? Well, everything is available at a stone's throw from our house…. you go walking and do shopping!
In Bahrain, the minute I step out of the house, I sit in my jeep and play my favorite Mohammad Rafi/ Kishore Kumar songs and off I zoom..... But here.... no no... Go walking; everything is round the corner.....missing my four wheel drive… I have to hum to myself some golden oldies but can’t guarantee hearing my own voice in this entire din!
The concept of cleaning the house is entirely different with the maids here. Without getting into detail, much to my maid's horror I had to teach her my way of cleaning the house! When I told her something which I cannot write here, her hand went straight to her mouth in astonishment!!! 'Well woman, learn to clean my house my way...or else.....' I thought!
Miss my maid back in Bahrain!
Forget to bring something from the nearby super market? Oh no! Go walking again and bring the item if you need.
How convenient is it to call the cold store guy back home in Bahrain at any given point in time! Missing my cold store.
I walk into a nearby Reliance Store. Pull a trolley and walk in. Going near the vegetable section, I look for a cover to put vegetables, I select brinjals, put them in the cover and promptly put them in the trolley, THUD, it falls to the floor!!! OMG! There is no bottom in the trolley!! God! Did I pull a defective trolley, I look around, the others have something red in theirs.... O red baskets.... one has to place a red basket in the trolley!!!!! How could I ever know this? In Bahrain I walk into any supermarket and pull a trolley and that’s it and here there is a gaping hole in all the trolleys where we have to keep a red basket before we shop! I felt very foolish and looked around to see if anyone had noticed my foolishness in dropping my vegetable cover in the gaping hole.... thank God everyone looked busy hunting for their own stuff!!!! My first super market experience. Haha....huh!!
Now let me look for toilet rolls (psst... psst... I ones I had brought from Bahrain will last only till this weekend), couldn't find any and walk towards the counter and ask them where can I find them and lo! To my horror I am told that they do not have it at all and do not sell them in their store!! How do people clean their....err... toilet culture is different in India?!
HELP LINE - my sister - 24x7
Dial dial dial...'Hey Reliance don't sell toilet rolls?' I almost yell.
'Go to Food World or any chemists', I hear her saying very calmly.
'But it has started to drizzle', I say.
'Never mind, it’s just a block away, if you need it you have to walk baby', she says.
Fuming with disbelief I walk to the nearest drug store.
'Excuse me, do you have a toilet roll' I ask craning my neck in between two heads.
Everyone turns back and looks at me!!!
'Hey, did I say something wrong', I think.
The shop keeper says, 'Yes'
'O, what a relief', I think.
'Give me one big packet', I say.
The shop keeper looks stunned and turns his back and pulls out one toilet roll packed in plastic and looks at me.
I say, 'No no, not one tissue roll, but I want a whole packet of it, say a dozen'.
By now everybody else in the shop are looking at me.
The guy replies in kannada, ' No ma, we don't have a packet of tissue rolls but each one costs Rs.56'.
Again my thoughts raced to Bahrain, 'OOOOO, I used to buy a long packet of good quality rolls for around 2 Dinars and here they don't even have a set of tissues but have single ones packed separately and look at the quality, the paper is so rough!
'OK, give me 4', I say.
'Big or small', he asks?
'O, it comes in 2 sizes, is it? Then give me 2 big and 2 small'.
I can see in the corner of my eye that an old man standing nearby is thoroughly entertained by this whole tissue business.
Walking out of the shop, I dial my sister's number and take out my frustration on her.... 'What is this, in a city like Bangalore I have to go to a pharmacy to buy toilet tissues? Politely she replies.... ‘This is Bangalore baby and not Bahrain'.... 'O, don't say Bahrain... I will start crying', I say. By now the drizzle has turned into rain and I decide to walk home as it’s just a 5 minutes pace to my home....all the time thinking did I ever walk in rain in Bahrain?
Bang opposite to my house is Reebok Showroom. Five minutes from my house is the popular vegetable market. What I want to say is, people go to air-conditioned showrooms to buy foot ware and buy vegetables on the foot path!!!!
Well, there is such a good market selling everything and anything else along with vegetables, why don't people discourage these foot path vendors? This is my way of thinking.... now keep quiet and move on... I tell myself.
As I enter the market, I see all kinds of shops with all kinds of goods, if I have to list it here, then this write-up will never end!! As I pass each vegetable stall, 'Banni maa (come maa), banni maa (come maa), they call me. I pause for a second and wonder why everyone is calling me MAA, do I look like one? Before I could find an answer, someone else yells at me banni akka ( come sister)! Lo, do I look like his sister? Well, I smile and take it in my stride. One smart chap calls out from a florist shop, 'Come here maam, fresh flowers' ... Wow, a sentence in English..am impressed! As I nudge my way in, I stop at a vegetable shop where the veggies look fairly fresh... before I could open my mouth, the voluptuous woman throws a basket at me and tell me to select the veggies..... well... so be it!
In a few days from now I will have lived a whole month in Bangalore! Still have lots of things to write... will keep it for next time....Bangalore surely has a lot of fodder for my articles... 'Am I loving it?' Did you ask? Well......well.... well!