Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lunch at Vimala's...

A few months back our wonderful maid, Vimala was finally able to move into her "new" house. A very exciting time for her and her family as she had been working hard for over 10 years to make the property liveable. Additionally, they had built a holding tank for water, which enables them to have a water tanker deliver water to be used for bathing, washing and "using the facilities," rather than needing to carry water from afar. In honor of this, our entire family was invited for a Sunday lunch... We had a lovely time, but were very surprised to find ourselves seated at their small dining table being served course after course of home-cooked, delicious Indian food, while the rest of the family either waited until later to eat or ate, sitting on the floor in the next room. I told Vimala that before we left India I was going to cook and serve HER a meal!

Vimala carrying Owen on a walkway next to the house. Prasad, Vimala's nephew walks next to them.
A neighborhood Rooster...

A family photograph with Vimala and her husband. Indian families often look quite stern in photographs! It's such a contrast to our typical American "Say Cheese!"

Owen at the gate!

Graycie and Owen with Vimala's children, Vikram and Indu. Owen wants to marry Indu and Vikram often comes to our house when Vimala babysits in the evening, where he is VERY tolerant of their constant plans to "trap Vikram"!!! Vimala and I are the same age...I can't imagine having a 15 and 18 year old!!!!!!!!!

Prasad...Owen was a bit confused to see him wearing clothes that he had outgrown...especially since Prasad is a few years OLDER! He liked the idea, though ;-)

An outer wall of the house.

Looking up from the gate...

Bob and Vikram saying hello, at the front door.

A veritable feast! Vimala and her sister are very good cooks... Note the Coca-Cola... We aren't big soda pop drinkers but you kind of can't say no when there are two bottles purchased specially for your visit!

Vimala in her new kitchen...

Owen's Puja...somehow he didn't light himself or anything else on fire, but it was close!

Owen waving incense in the Puja Room... If you look close you can see both Hindu deities and statues of Mary and the Christ child.

Our beautiful Indian Girl!

We are blessed to have Vimala in our and our children's lives.

The Fischers in India

The Prize...

Lay waiting underneath rough skin

and the sticky sap of a tree season...


Not so pretty. (I think Owen looks a little scared in the second picture!)

Huge and awkward to carry about. Not particulary easy to access. We spent months gazing upwards at these strange aliens, wondering what they might be.

Now, after seeing the work it takes to literally dig the tender, edible seed pods from the innards of this creature, I have to wonder who in world ever thought to open the first one! This, my friends, is a fruit which forces you to oil your hands before you begin...

The flavor is an exotic cross between banana, pineapple and really fresh melon. Jackfruit has it's own unique texture. Not juicy, not crunchy...rather smooth and a bit can peel sections off of each pod as you might a piece of string cheese (quite appealing to the younger set).
The Fischers in India
with a whole lot of blogging to do to make that 30 in 30 promise!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm In Love!

Honestly, I haven't felt this excited since Bob and I, tagging along with a friend for a "theater" *study group* that somehow included too many shots of tequila, Bob, standing in the doorway with his super cute hockey hair, cracking some lame joke, his hockey bad slung sideways across his back.

Our 12th Anniversary is this Sunday, June 22nd and we have a lot to celebrate. A great friendship, two pretty spectacular kiddos (if we don't say so, ourselves...hey, it's parental indulgence...we get to say they're perfect in public and beg for mercy behind the Curtain!) Like all marriages...we've had our sticky moments but I'm not ashamed to say that I love that man, like mad...He drives me absolutely bananas but he know exactly what I mean nearly all the time (and that's saying something, considering my typical convoluted thought process!)

Just so you don't start wondering when I'm going to start quoting corny poetry (and I COULD, oh yes,) I have to tell you that I've met someone new...

He's a little jumpy, sometimes runs hot, needs some time to cool down and tends to tumble about but WOW! The best part is that he's not afraid to tackle the laundry...

Lots and Lots of Laundry. Oh, and he's a Model. IFB 550 to be exact.

Sorry, I can't help myself:

Ode To My "Drying Machine"
I have lived without you since we moved away,
where I never appreciated the singular way,
you sped round and round, full of air and of heat,
ensuring that dampness and wrinkles didn't meet.

Each day we have missed you,
Relied on the sun,
While the clouds and the rain forced all color to run,
where our clothes all were faded, where underwear flapped,
And the wind and the dust and the smog were all mapped,
equally taking their turn to erode
any style, any fashion...load after load.

You are Back!
You've Returned! You have come!
To rescue our linens, our total, the sum,
of all we have witnessed,
of all we revere,
A pile of dry laundry, NOT hanging HERE.

Love is a funny thing. Really, I should probably be in love with the landlord...but he's getting paid every month and the Clothes Dryer needs me. Vimala and Lokesh don't know what to make of it and can't understand why I keep grabbing laundry from the dryer, throwing it on the bed and folding it with abandon.

Now to explain why we can't dry EVERYTHING...

The Fischers in India
Where life can be all together TOO exciting.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More Creepy Crawly...for your viewing pleasure.

Oops...not them! They have their insufferable moments but I won't quite classify them as creepy or crawly! (Damn cute, though...)
It's a little blurry, but you are looking at a very large (and thankfully deceased) scorpion that we found by the pool at our Kabini resort.

Bugs are big, here.

Wear Shoes.

The Fischers in India

promising a longer blog tomorrow!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

An Unruly Yet Common Commute...

And You thought it was hard to keep YOUR kids belted in the car!
The Fischers

The Rats are still after us...

By the Chinese calendar, I think it is particularly interesting to note that I am a "Rat."

It explains their strange affinity for us. Doesn't it?

Our Rat Escapades are apparently not over...

"Mommy, mommy, come quick and see! The big Rat just climbed out of his hole!" (Grayce)..
"Sure honey (absentmindedly reading an ill gotten People Magazine)"
"MOMMMMYYY!" I walk to the front door and look outside.
There on the front walkway, *In Broad Daylight* is the most ginormous Rat with the longest tail that I have ever seen.
He is stalking the kittens as they nurse with mama cat.
He is unequivocally the same size as the cat. Or perhaps a wild turkey.
He is mangy and ill looking and he stands there dumbly, staring at me and the hissing cat before he ambles unhurriedly across the street into the neighbors yard.
Where he is greeted by a bucket of cold water that my neighbor has tossed upon him from the window.
And he climbed out of a hole in our small patch of green, yes, he did. Yay!

I really did try and run for the camera...but by the time I returned he was gone. The kids are forbidden from playing outside alone for now. The "rodent man" stopped by (just in time to run into the cockroach man who was spraying our kitchen with poison! Yes! All the benefits of our past organic food lifestyle have already been used up by the constant presence of one sort of pesticide and pollutant or another...)

Yum. Yum. Yummy.
The Fischers
one with all life forms, I guess.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's about time my fiefdom became public!

After a childhood of constant name mangling and a girlhood desire to carry the name "Peggy," I have finally come into my own! There is something entirely satisfying about living in a country in which, though I am cast with looks of surprise, everybody knows my name...

That's Chandra. No, not Candra, Cassandra, Chander, or the oddly breathy Cahandra...

Not only do I get my own Layout, I also host a fine *Hi-Tech* multispecialty hospital and Instill. Faith. With. A. Touch! All those other Layouts have to make do...

Chandra Fischer
in India! Wheeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Village Life near the Kabini River...

Village children in a courtyard.

Be Thankful for your water tap...

Buckets on a'd be astonished at what can be (and is) carried on a motorbike!

The kids were amazed to see this and had LOTS of questions about the plow!

Kind of a Minnesota/Wisconsin feel, don't you think?

Carrying water... Raju tells me that it's "easy, madame" afterall, they have a little flat circle balanced on their heads to rest whatever they are transporting on! Of course. Easy. Nothing to it. Easy-Peasy.

We hadn't taken a trip out of Bangalore for a while, so when our friends, the Vanderpool's suggested one last trip before they move back to the U.S., it was a no-brainer. We decided upon a weekend trip to the Cicada Resort at the Kabini River/Nagerhole National Forest which happens to have the largest concentration of wild Tigers in India...a nice antidote to the heat and bad air of a Bangalore summer!

The rural villages dotting Southern India have been some of my favorite places to travel through, often reminding me strangely of the agricultural landscape of the midwest, USA (palm trees, excepted, of course). I love riding along, watching, lulled by the countryside and the appearance of bright slashes of colorful on a line, women carrying water at the roadside. All of those things exist in Bangalore, but the frenetic pace, the constant construction, the volume of beings, and the sheer loudness makes it harder to concentrate, more difficult to really take notice or to appreciate.

I'll post photographs of our family, friends, resort and jungle safari's tomorrow... Here's more of the villages we drove through on our way home:

This is my favorite picture! These women are pumping water from the well and the beautiful elder told our driver (in Kannada) that she was happy we wanted her photograph.

A friendly wave in a long day of work!

Colorful Ganesha painting on the local Temple wall...our favorite Hindu deity.

Goats in the yard...

Sifting and cleaning the Ragi (a highly nutritious, wheat-like grain common to Southern India)

More women "easily" carrying the load!

The Fischers in India

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fred, the Friendly Fischer Cockroach...and 30 Blogs in 30 Days!

I opened the front door the other morning absolutely thrilled to be greeted by this cockroach. Creepy. It was kind of him to hang around all day...
And just for comparison's sake...Bob's mobile vs. our friend Fred.

"People" (aka Bob) have been complaining about my lack of blogging. It's not as if I don't have plenty of material (no, no, don't worry...lack of material is NOT the problem). I have many photos and funny stories to share but in an odd way, life here has changed from feeling like my head would explode 24/7 to feeling just like, well, LIFE (my head only explodes 3 times a week, now). Not mundane (though it can be) and most certainly still quite strange but also busy with kids, and groceries, and traffic time and figuring out who's (kids, Bob, myself, Raju, Vimala and Lokesh) doing what, when, then falling into bed...

That said, I do love to write. I especially enjoy the blog and we really do want to share as much of our experience here with our family and friends (and interested strangers, of course). So... For your edification: 30 Blogs in 30 Days. I can't promise they'll all be well written, amusing or even that interesting, but maybe it will break me out of that writing slump!

See You Tomorrow,
The Fischers
Weirdly Settled Down in India