Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Living in Chennai brings its share of the good and the bad!

Today was a definite showing of the 'bad'!

It wasn't enough that I chipped a tooth at a free lunch on Saturday - ended up at the dentist (shriek with horror!) for emergency treatment on Sat evening and have four further lengthy appointments for a subsequent root canal and crown. Clearly there is no such thing as a free lunch as this one is costing in the region of 25K rupees!

It wasn't enough that The Ray woke up with a hacking cough and could not go to school - (please God not another long winded cold!).

It wasn't enough that one of the household maids, PYT didn't show until I tracked, no make that hunted, her down and then I had to drop The Ray off to the dad's office!

The final straw was that we decided to terminate the driver. He was in a foul mood on the way back from Nikh's school and the clincher was that he deliberately spun our car sideways into an autorick that was not moving fast enough for him.

Okay - I understand the frustration of driving here - it is an activity you only undertake if you can zone out and go with the flow. The minute you are in a hurry, think about the rules of the road or rights of way ... you are doomed to disaster and potential wreckage. I find that the main thing that bothers me when I drive is that people tend to drift sideways. The lines and markings on the road are merely decorations (not even polite requests!) and disregarded by everyone - bikes, scooters, bullock carts, buses, autos and cars, vans, coaches etc etc etc. If it is a remotely plausible mode of transport, it will be on the Chennai roads and it is your job to watch out not ANY of theirs!!

The driver is supposed to be used to this. The last one, Snake in the Grass, was verbally abusive (in Tamil, thank the Lord!) to anyone who dared cross his path. He was however half psycho, so had to be deleted! The present (sorry ex) driver, Abs, appeared amenable, honest and relatively calm. Unlike Snake in the Grass, Abs was not interested in making small talk with Madam, partly because the common language was Hindi and Madam is not the hottest Hindi speaker! My Hindi is passable (very easily passable!) and clearly Abs passed on speaking with me. But this morning showed a whole other side to the man. My darling husband, asked him to visit him at work HQ on his bike, not our now auto-yellow stained car, and removed him from our environment. I must say he seemed genuinely apologetic and regretful, and the past 8 months have been relatively stress free, but this crazy attack on the snoozy auto driver does not bode well.

On top of this (there is more? - you may ask!) the new cook (2 weeks old) is driving Madam nuts. the pace of a snail and the intellect of a flea. The attention and memory of an ant and the will to learn of ...well... nothing. She has no will to learn. As a teacher and a relatively intelligent human, this lack of wanting to do my best and get something out of every experince is simply unfathomable to me. PYT is getting English lessons (at her request and my finance), she has asked for cooking lessons and remembers watching me make a dish and can virtually recreate it. Downside - I need her for The Ray. Kitchen duty is not her main priority - but it may become such!

Callous though it sounds, Madam had decided to keep her on while interviewing and scouting out a replacement. Terrible! But necessary! I am sick of spending my day, first shopping - no Tesco, M & S and Walmart here, 5 different shops just for the basics of milk, bread, fruit, veg and store cupboard or pantry items. Secondly coming home, purifying all the fruit and veg, cleaning and disinfecting all the other items and storing them and only then (a good half a day later), being able to cook anything. Add in drop off for Nikh and The Ray, pick up mid morning for The Ray, trying to actually meet people and stimulate a modicum of brain activity at OWC, IWA or some other such situation, and you find another entire day has whizzed by and you didn't even make the dinner!

Well, ever onward - all enquiries for a position in Madam's household can be forwarded forthwith!

Moving to Chennai

Chennai Help (may 2008)
I thought I would start blogging about my life in Chennai. I came here for 3 months, to settle my husband into an apartment, before returning to my 'normal' life in London.That was 7 years ago!We have experienced an earthquake, numerous power cuts, a tsunami, cyclones, monsoon rains, heatwaves and much much more.Over the next few blogs I am planning to talk a little about surviving in a city that has a culture, a language, a daily routine, a lifestyle and a climate completely alien to me.My three year old son (7 years ago) has been to 4 different schools in that time and I have had a baby here in Chennai.
It is do-able!