Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Today's Vocabulary Words:

Specs = glasses
Chappals = flip-flops
Crackers = fireworks

Blogger is being a pill about uploading photos -- must be a problem with the server in Bangalore, er, Silicon Alley -- so for the moment text will have to suffice....

Before leaving Mysore Jammu* and I made a visit to City Optical Paradise for eye exams (Rs 100 or just over $2) and new specs. There was no wait, and of course you take the exam in bare feet. Their eye chart has a different set of letters: No E FP TOZ LPED PECFD, etc, so it was hard to cheat. While we were selecting frames they sent out for chai. I decided to embrace my old age and purchased my very first pair of bifocals (Rs 2100 or around $45). Lucky for me Jammu was there to talk me into getting supercute frames. Apparently they take some getting used to, and give me a mild headache. I wore them on the plane of course, and was disoriented during the entire 34 hour trip from Room 19 at the Kaveri Lodge to my overheated West Wrigleyville abode. But at least I looked good.

Did I mention that on the way from Mysore to Bangalore P. put in a CD of American pop hits -- the first of which was "Short Dick Man?"

Before leaving Mysore I tried keep up with my laundry so that I could leave some things behind in a trunk without worrying that they'd fester and rot while I was gone. One outfit that remained in Mysore was a lime green and cobalt blue georgette salwaar kameez that I washed one morning and hung outside under an awning, in case of rain. I spent the day going about my business, and after an afternoon nap I went out to check on the laundry... and one-third of the outfit -- the impossibly huge lime green genie pants -- had vanished!

This is the same rooftop clothesline where the long-time student had lost her knee-CUZZ-a,** which she then accused me of nicking.

After a quick search of my room, I was certain someone had taken them. I ran down to tell the manager, and showed him the other two pieces of the outfit. "Someone has stolen my pants! Punjabi dress has three pieces! One is here! One is here! Pants are missing! Someone has taken!"

And he looked at me very calmly and said, "No problem Madam -- they have blown to neighbor."

I gave him a skeptical look.

"I will send the boys to look," he said.

And a few minutes later Harisha was standing at my door, smiling and holding up my giant polyester lime green pants.

This is the same Harisha and same hotel staff that would find my scooter key when I lost it (which was often) and lock my door when I forgot to and bring in my laundry when it rained and make chai tea and recommend movies to see and help me with my Kannada.

I realize now that between them and 3 Sisters, etc. I was more or less reparented during my most recent trip to Mysore.

No wonder we westerners are always itching to go back there.


*Jammu is 1/2 of the duo Jammu and Kashmir, a pair of inseparable friends who came with me to Mysore in 2004. Kashmir -- who taught us all how to crochet -- is in Chicago and about to give birth to a baby boy. Jammu has become quite an excellent crochet artist. I, on the other hand, have not.

**It took me a long time to figure this out, but "knee-CUZZ-a" means "knickers" -- ie, panties.

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