Most days, JP and I wake up at 6:30am. JP heads to the shower, and I wake Leila up for her first feeding. Leila and I often play on the bed for awhile, especially if JP has to iron a shirt. Then, the three of us head downstairs, and make our way “home,” which is just a hop, skip, and a jump across the campus to JP’s parent’s house. Leila usually goes for a short walk with Tata, and looks at the plants. She also has a nice good morning chat with Ava, who is usually cooking breakfast. Ava also brings JP and me two hot cups of sweet, milky Indian coffee, and then we know for sure that the day has begun. JP reads the newspaper, and I think about a plan for the day, drink my coffee, and head to the shower.
I am a Type-A personality. India is either Type-B, or in a category all its own… I’m note sure which. This incongruity is an on-again, off-again struggle for me, especially if my aforementioned plan for the day is too detailed. If I’m not careful, I end up feeling like I spin my wheels a lot in India. I’m constantly trying to make myself meet India in the middle. Perhaps what I need more to do, is skip the plan-for-the-day part of my day. That is what I did today (unintentionally, of course,) and it was a very superb day.
Let me tell you all about it.
Last week I ventured out to fabric and tailor shops. By Saturday, I had three brand new, neatly tailored “dresses” in hand. The only problem was that we had neglected to take the dupattas (scarves) to be finished, and so I could not really wear the outfits until Tuesday of this week. So today, my day happily began by wearing the second of my new salwars. I like it very much…
Next, timing things properly with Leila’s second feeding and nap time, JP and I went to the shopping district where it was our mission to buy 60 green scarves from “Dupatta House.” A friend from home asked if we would bring these for the purpose of decorating her wedding, and to hand out as gifts/favors. It was a worrisome venture for me, as I was having to choose from limited stock, dozens of greens scarves that may or not not actually match or be the correct style of material for the right cost. It took about 45 minutes to dredge the bottom of all the scarf seller’s piles, and even he said that no one else would be able to buy green scarves from him for awhile. I took a picture of our 20 lb. bag of scarves, but what I wish you could see would be a picture of JP and I riding the motorcycle back with this parcel between us! I am so relieved to have this project taken care of… at least until we have to Fed Ex them in Michigan.
DISCLAIMER: We will not be doing this again for obvious reasons!:)
One of the things I miss most when I’m in India is cooking and baking. As it turns out, there were some very ripe bananas at home that were just begging to be added to some bread. During the first weeks that we were in India, two things happened. First, we bought an oven for JP’s parents’ 32nd anniversary. It is like a very large toaster oven, and is actually an oven/toaster/grill, akin to the microwave/oven/grill that was here previously.
Next, I found a very decent looking recipe on a favorite cooking blog that I follow. I actually like to follow this particular blog because Ilva, the author, posts a lot of beautiful photos from Italy, where she lives, but I’ve never made one of her recipes. However, she posted a recipe for Gluten-free Chocolate Banana Bread, using Chickpea flour, and it jumped out at me because chickpea (or channa) flour is very readily available in India. So, this afternoon I was able to go to town on the banana bread. I was excited to use red bananas, as well as one mini-banana to fill things out. I even thew in some walnuts, as I’m newly converted to walnuts.
The bread turned out quite well, especially considering my baking history here in India is less than perfect. (Many of you have heard “The Cake Story,” which nearly ruined my relationship with JP the first time that I came to India.) I’m grateful that things get slightly easier each time I bake here. For example, JP is always careful to buy unbroken eggs from the shop nearby. I’ve learned where the oil is. I know how to “powder” the sugar, which is very granular here. I even found something to sift the flour with this time! And, I especially enjoyed using this recipe because the measurements were in milliliters, (she also converts to American equivalents) and she listed the celsius temperature, which I usually have to convert with JP’s help. The only “oops” that I had, was forgetting to flip the switch that turns on the electrical power for the oven. (Outlets here often have an on/off switch next to them that you must turn on for the current to flow. That is the switch that I forgot to flip.) So, when I went to put my little loaves in the oven, it was still cold, and I had to wait another ten minutes. (Oops.) It was worth waiting for, thankfully, and we ended up with a nice warm loaf of bread to eat with our evening chai.
Just as the last loaf was finishing in the oven, I went upstairs to check on Leila and came upon the man who came to fix our water filter. The apartment has its own aqua guard filter, but it broke down about two weeks ago. It took about four days to get the guy to come look at it, and since then we’ve been hauling our water bottles up and downstairs, waiting for the correct parts to arrive for our 17-year old water filter. At long last, the parts came, the man came, the filter got fixed, and we have drinkable water again. Hooray!
For a day without a plan, I sure felt like a lot of things got accomplished.
…And now, for the ironic ending… I was having so much trouble with loading the pictures from the computer to the blog that I gave up and went to bed, and now I am posting this the following day!!