It's been ... oh ... FOUR DAYS since my last post?
Too much to process, not enough time. Still: some of my resolutions are in running order. No bread. Two hours of the morning without the internet. Daily origami (though I haven't been posting pix).Daily photographs (ditto -- not been posting to the blog). Eight glasses of water every day. All the rest are merely in suspension while I'm in Madras.
Here's a recap of what this week has been like:
13th: We (E and I) arrived from Delhi in the late afternoon. We ate a snack at the airport in Delhi, lunch on the plane, and immediately after arriving, had tea at my Mum's house followed by an extremely filling FONDUE DINNER. So that pretty much set the tone for the week, i.e., near continuous eating.
14th: In the morning, we began the day with a visit to my Mum's sister's home, filled with flowers and paintings, plus, two beautiful cats upstairs. My uncle passed away peacefully on the first of this year, so this was also a condolence visit. It was a beautiful fresh day and my aunt was looking relaxed and the house was fragrant with incense. This visit was followed by a visit to meet two more cats, also very charming, in my cousin's daughter's home. Much purring was enjoyed.
Back at home, for lunch, Mum's cook had made fried fish. She knows that E likes fish, so she had laid out FIVE MACKEREL for him and he ate FOUR!! Everyone was delighted, because of course, the one thing my Mum still enjoys is to feed people at her table. Everyone here loves E, because he is totally unfussy with food, and eats everything that's set in front of him, including all the spicy, bony things that I for one NEVER eat (I don't like fish. A cause of much sorrow to my parents, all through my childhood). In short, he is the perfect guest, in Indian terms. In the evening we played badminton with my niecelet. And at night we ate some more. *sigh*
15th: Idlis in the morning. Since these are festival days in Tamilnadu, celebrating PONGAL, (a harvest festival, following the end of year rainy season in this part of the country), my niecelet is on holiday till Thursday. In the evenings we play badminton -- I call it goodminton, because we play so dreadfully -- on my Mum's small lawn. All through the day we fend off mosquitoes with spray-on repellant, which, to my surprise, work quite well. The weather is exceptionally balmy, with the result that walks down the road are pleasant. The only problem is eating five times a day -- three times at my Mum's table and twice upstairs with my sister, niece, niece-let and nephew-in-law! Alas, all the food is good and there's always too much of it.
16th: Idlis again in the morning. My Mum's kitchen produces fixed breakfasts -- Khichdi on Mondays, Idlis on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Dosai on Thursday, Uppuma on Friday, Dosai again on Saturdays, then on Sundays the upstairs cook (my sister's cook, i.e.) sends down dosais made by her. In short, it's a rice-based breakfast every day except Friday's semolina uppuma. At lunch, it was fish again for Ethan, a flat fish with a name none of us could recognize.
The niecelet came down and was happy to be offered two portions, much to my Mum's disapproval. She felt that E was not getting his rightful share!! In the late afternoon, G, E and I went out on what was meant to be a brief drive to see the festival crowds at the beach, but instead we ended with a huge snack at G's Club -- I had a sada Dosai and ice cream, G had peas Uppuma, E had fresh, hot julienned potato chips, plus coffee. Then back to Mum's house for dinner ...
17th: E left in the morning. I went with him to the airport, with a hired driver. Said goodbye (didn't wait, there's no point at the airport these days, since visitors can't go in) and took photographs from the car all the way back. As always, I managed to see many more interesting sights than I could ever take pictures of -- I never have my camera up in time. For instance: an elderly woman, tall and grey haired, walking right across a busy street, dressed in a baby-pink silk sari, with sparkling gold borders, dripping gold jewellery from her ears, wrists and neck! An amazing sight. Later the same day, I saw a homeless woman, dressed in rags, standing in a shaft of sunlight, drinking tea from a paper cup. She stood with such unaffected grace, in that shaft of light, steam rising from tea in her hand, it was as if she were standing on a stage under a spotlight, savouring her drink, not out in the dusty, crowded street. Wonderful.
Later in the day, went to FabIndia, bought three short tunics and two beautiful indigo blue cotton stoles.
18th: Tried hard to catch up with my various projects but instead spent the whole day wool-gathering, doing puzzles on my iPad and ... eating, of course. My cousin R came over around lunch-time and chatted with my mother, while she and I ate lunch. He lives in London with his parents and comes with them every year around this time. He enjoys talking to my Mum and she enjoys his company too, so it was a pleasant interaction. On Monday night we will meet again for dinner, with his parents, whom I haven't seen for several years.
19th: And now I must stop, because the power goes off for two hours load-shedding every day.
LATER: I have finally managed to upload a photograph and also to correct the many errors I made while posting this account earlier today. I am not satisfied with the colour I reported for the lady I saw crossing the street in a pink sari. It wasn't baby-pink, but a much brighter, fresher colour. Neither fluorescent nor the famous "mutai-pink" of my childhood -- the pink of boiled-sugar sweets we bought from the local sweet shops, a vicious, poison-pink -- whereas this sari was an entirely pretty, lively and flowery colour, like maybe a phlox or bud-rose. It wasn't an artificial colour, yet it caught the eye, it was so TASTY bright.