Monday, October 1, 2007

35 year old, American Female seeking furniture polish...

and other household items to be used for lurid and unusual activities including (but not limited to): dusting woodwork, sweeping and mopping floors, laundering clothing.

At least it seems that way.

Setting up a household in Bangalore is a lesson in perseverance, creativity, frustration and humor. Items which we, as Americans, easily take for granted become difficult to explain, describe and very often, find. Often there is an Indian equivalent...not exactly the same...but close enough (or better in the case of the extremely useful natural brooms!). Usually, though, it takes a while to determine what those equivalents are.

Witness the aforementioned 35 year old American girl attempting to describe (and mime) the shape, structure and use of a "dish drainer" to a very nice young Indian man. A young man who spoke a bit of English but who was much to polite to simply tell me he didn't know what the H&*ll I was talking about. Or the frequency of times I have attempted to buy wood polish met with the familiar Indian head bobble and a "Yes Madame" only to be led directly to the shoe polish. While it is completely true that it is possible to find nearly anything in Bangalore, it is also equally true that you will find yourself visiting 26 stores and spending 10 hours in traffic, driving across the entire city only to learn that the item you seek was indeed available...last month.

I've heard a recent rumor that Clorox wipes are available in Bangalore. And I'm actually spending time fantasizing about discovering the "mother lode" on a shop shelf in any one location and buying up each and every one! (Aside from vinegar the concept of natural, chemical free cleansers appears to be far away for me to even dream about.)

That and cereal bowls. I find serving bowls, finger bowls, mixing bowls galore but nary a cereal bowl to be found...

What this all boils down to is learning to embrace the unfamiliar. My knee jerk, off-the-cuff reaction is often one of incredulity: "WHAT, no cereal bowls...of all the is it possible that there are no cereal bowls!?" And then I remember that we have chosen to live in a foreign culture. Chosen a life in which our notions of "right and good and usual" will be continually challenged. A life in which cereal bowls might just be traditionally unavailable because the traditional breakfast doesn't include cereal (who'd a mean it's not just like the U.S.)


1 comment:

Tami of BrooksGroth said...

Hey Chandra (and family) -- love the updates. I can almost feel your emotions swinging as you attempt to adjust to another culture and find the things you need/want. I'm a little envious at the adventure and yet it also makes me very appreciative of my own comforts.

Love and belief,