Saturday, June 09, 2007

mango madness

i've been eating mangos almost every day. they're in season, and my girlfriend's mother constantly buys them for me.

this morning's mango was a fine specimen, clean, unbruised and nicely ripened. i cut into it as usual, slicing off tasty strips of mango flesh.

halfway into eating it, a creature crawled out of the mango's center. a brown beetlish thing.

still makes me shudder. i can't figure out how it got in there. the mango's exterior was completely intact.

i have come to accept the legion of cockroaches i share my apartment with, but this is too much.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

woman on the floor

i got up this morning and found a woman on my floor. in my sitting room. (yes, i have a sitting room.) she was on the floor in spite of a perfectly good couch right next to her.

I found my gf brushing her teeth in the bathroom. "Why are you brushing your teeth when there's a woman waiting in the other room?"

I learned that she was in no hurry to deal with the woman on the floor. rather she was going to get cleaned up and have coffee and so on and make the woman wait. this woman was a maid we were interviewing, and maids are apparently perfectly comfortable waiting. they also sit on floors rather than on furniture. this indicates that they "know their place". apparently "if you treat them like equals, they will take advantage."

the same words the english once used to justify the oppression of all indians.

I'll try my hand at an offensive remark: indians don't get irony so much.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

southern cuisine

went to an engagement party in hassan on saturday with a bunch of the office crew on saturday. threw in a few ancient temples while we were at it: Belur & Halebid

and i'm going to a wedding reception tonight for another co-worker.

as i said before--i am reliving my late 20s, only this time as an indian. people in their late 20s go to a lot of weddings.

lest you think i'm not a proper indian, i taught a woman at the engagement lunch how to properly eat a southern indian banana leaf meal. and this woman was an INDIAN no less--a fancy northerner, used to their fancy indian breads and utensils, who had just arrived in the south to start work at my company. and this was good down-home southern indian dining: eating off of a dirty banana leaf with the bare hand. she was horrified.

i taught her:
how to wash the leaf using her drinking water without soaking the table (a deceptively complex procedure)
to eat with her right hand only
how to stop the trio of topless waiters from ladling unwanted food onto her leaf as they passed (it is offensive not to eat everything on your leaf)
the 3 finger scoop-and-shovel leaf-to-mouth food delivery method
the post-meal hand-wash-over-leaf technique

she failed in almost all of the above. i made up other south indian traditions such as "wipe your dirty hand on shirt sleeve of the person to your left" (she sat to my left), to increase the overall horror. it was great fun. relatives of the groom were deeply confused and amused watching the foreigner teach the indian.

she's not in the office today. i hope she didn't quit from the shame of it all.

i will post some pictures semi-promptly

Thursday, April 26, 2007


my bangalore experience is entirely different this time.

last time it was all about reverting back to the late teens/early 20s i never really experienced in my late teens/early 20s. i dare not describe it more than i already have in posts past. best to say it would have probably made a decent mtv reality show. by decent i mean liked by the kind of people who like those things. i personally would have changed the channel.

most of the out-of-control barely post-teens are gone now. i find myself hanging out with my girlfriend and other couples. but they are young, unmarried couples. people who want more than large quantities of cheap beer and someone new and exciting to mount. they want cocktails and nice dinners out and career paths. suddenly i'm in my late 20's.

i've done this one before. and i'm not especially interested in doing it again.

clearly i have transcended this plane of existence and currently have nowhere decent to go. i am repeating life in an endless loop without bothering with the hindu formalities of death and rebirth. i am in some sort of limbo.

perhaps i will break free and become a spiritual guru in the bhagwan sri rashneesh vein. my messiah-like long blond hair, my years of wandering the earth, my mellow demeanor--never mind my transcendence--give me greater bona fides than most of the guru wannabes out there.

follow me!

sorry. it has been a long day at the office.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

green acres

my girlfriend is utterly incompetent. she cannot cook instant noodles. she doesn't know how to wash clothes in a bucket. not that i'm saying any of this is "woman's work". but suppose i fall on hard times and end up raising yaks up in the cold himalayan wild. i'd just like to know that my woman is hearty enough to milk our yaks and help with the chores while i hunt the nourishing mountain beasts our children must eat to survive. that's all. plus it's character building. people shouldn't have servants all their lives.

i suppose it must be like that "simple life" show i never saw.

fortunately she is an enthusiastic pupil.

Monday, April 16, 2007

my roommates

after 32 hours of travel, my flight arrived on time (10pm) in bangalore amidst flashes of lighting. i fought my way off the plane. you would think it was on fire the way people pushed and shoved for position. yes, i was surely back in india.

the immigration lines were huge. half an hour of sleep walking finally put me in front of a sour faced official. "what happened to your passport?" he asked as he thumbed through it disapprovingly. admittedly my passport is a little worn, but other countries don't seem to care. "it got wet. a long time ago," i replied, which is true. he called over the boss. he asked me the same thing. i repeated myself. the new guy grunted and took his turn poking and prodding the passport for a while. i watched him examine my previous 2 indian visas before he asked "have you been to india before?" cleverly, i said yes. "touche," he must have thought, for i was granted entry.

i fought the crowd for my bags. one of my bags had large X's drawn on it in chalk. uh oh. the chalk got all over my clothes as i wrestled it off the conveyor. i thought i looked like i had been doing blow on the plane, clumsily. or perhaps crazily, scarface style.

customs saw what was left of the chalk marks and gave my bag the high security treatment. more pain, but no bribes or confiscations necessary.

legally in india at last, i found my tiny indian girlfriend hidden amongst the hordes. not the best place for a reunion, but it was great to see her. thankfully, she didn't comment on my chalkiness (literal or figurative) or my greasiness (my last shower was a few days before), or even the fact that i've probably got 30 more pounds on me than the last time i was in town (in my defense i was exceptionally skinny then).

we exited the airport at last. it was hot and rainy outside. the parking lot was pure chaos--honking horns, double and triple parking, and human and vehicular (thankfully no cows) traffic jams. just getting to the car felt like a victory. but that was only one battle in the greater war. it took another 40 minutes to get out of the parking lot once in the car. finally on the "open" road, my girlfriend reminded me what a terrible driver she is. it actually took me months to realize this the last time around. to a newbie, it seems at first it seems that everyone drives maniacally in bangalore, which is sort of true. but there is a skillful maniacal that navigates the chaos well and actually makes sense when you study it, and then there is the unskilled maniacal driving that simply increases the total chaos. it would take me too long to describe my gf's driving, but rest assured, it is completely without sense, and is often terrifying.

somehow we made it safely to the apartment my gf had found. i was so looking forward to collapsing in a comfortable bed. i turned on the lights. it was horrible. all over the kitchen and dining room were cockroaches. massive ones, the big crunchy kind that don't die on the first stomp. 2 inch long antennae, never mind the bodies. my gf screamed and screamed. you don't hear screams like that very often, the kind with pure horror behind them. she was useless to me in her state of shock. something primitive took over and began to kill. i hunted and i killed and then i killed some more. twitching corpses soon littered the two rooms. the bedrooms and bathrooms were next, where their numbers were thankfully fewer.

i gave the all clear signal. i welcomed myself home.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

the blog, revived!

i'm returning to bangalore... NOW. i'm in the plush, clean, comfortable changi airport in singapore, waiting 8 hours for the flight that will take me back to noisy, dirty, chaotic banglore. Never much cared for sterile singapore, although the free internet, movies, and massage chairs make this the best airport in the world.

my indian girlfriend has found me (us?) a posh (or so i am told) apartment on MG Road.

and so it continues...