January 12, 2009 – Day in the Market and Visiting my Friend in Town and Tightened Security Measures
Decided to go down to the market today to take care of some things I needed to do. Print up some pictures to give to Devi after my visit to her house, and my cordless mouse stopped working so went to get a replacement. I was delightfully surprised to find that the files I brought into the photo lab would processed immediately…everything is computerized and I waited just 5 minutes for my photos. Good quality as well. I had to order the mouse and it will arrive next week. I also found some lipsticks but was too cold to buy shoes…couldn’t bare taking off my shoes and socks. Went down to the ghat for awhile and also found that they have wonderful clean toilets for public use there. Always an important discovery.
Finally went to visit Manju, Dr. Arora’s wife. She was preparing lunch and so I also took the opportunity to learn a few other cooking tips. She is the best cook I’ve met so far in India….her food is really tasty without being overly spiced. While waiting for the doctor to get home for lunch, we spent some time with his 88 year old mother…she can no longer get around by herself and has her good days and bad days. Today was a good day and she was her regular delightfully happy self. I don’t understand one word she says but we sat there laughing and enjoying each other’s company. She asked me things and I answered something completely irrelevant. Manju was hysterical with laughter and at one point my jaw began to hurt from smiling and laughing. Then she wanted to have her bed moved, so I went to help lift her under the arm from one side with manju on the other side. As I was doing my best (she is a VERY big woman), her comment was “you must be hungry…go eat first then you will have strength to lift me…too skinny!”. Manju almost dropped her she was laughing so hard.
We then had lunch, which was simple but delicious as always and then Manju took me out to get some things which I found difficult to choose myself. Especially a chapatti pan (tawa). We went to several shops until we found one that both of us were satisfied with for different reasons, I purchased it and also checked out other kitchen ware with her to determine quality and price in case I decide to buy and ship home later. Particularly pressure cookers. They are 4 to 8 times (!) more expensive at home, even considering the cost of postage! I just don’t feel like sending any more parcels, but think this would be a good cost effective purchase in the end.
Anyway, Dr. Arora by then had to go back to the clinic. Devi and Laxshmi showed up at the house as well, after also going window shopping in the market during the afternoon break, and they also ate a quick lunch. Was driven home by the doctor and then showed my purchases to Seema, who also agreed that the chapatti pan was excellent quality and good price.
Was met at my room by Eli and we spent some time together as well, and then she went off to do her stuff and me to my evening. And then there was a knock on my door. It was Udai, the manager, very apologetically asking for my help. Seems the security forces were really working hard before the Kumbh Mela as they are really afraid of terrorism this year. Checking out all the guesthouses. Now, you may remember I went to Varanassi for a few days in November, but kept my room here and when I came back they didn’t check me in again, as they had never checked me out! Seems the security officer saw my passport number and compared it to some list, and found that I was listed as being in Varanassi when I was also listed as being here! Never thought this was ever me in any of the books here….so he came up to get my passport, wrote up a check-in slip for me as if I arrived today, and said oif they came up to ask me just tell them I arrived today! What if they asked where I was before today? He said don’t worry…it’s been taken care of !(whatever that means). Interesting to say the least.
Never boring in India….