Parsingtime

More Annoyed than Amused

Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Only in India

Posted by parsingtime on November 12, 2007

This article was on Drudge…random Banker and I did not run into any rabid monkeys while in Delhi but thank goodness her mother didn’t know about this particular pest. The whole southeast Asia trip might have been cancelled.  Of course we have been attacked by gang raping ducks in Austin.

Just weeks after the Indian capital’s deputy mayor toppled to his death fending off a pack of monkeys, the animals have gone back on the attack, sparking fresh concerns about the simian menace.

One woman was seriously hurt and two dozen other people were given first aid after monkeys rampaged through a neighbourhood in east Delhi over the weekend, media reports have said.

“There were about three or four monkeys involved,” deputy police commissioner Jaspal Singh told AFP.

“Wildlife officials are trying to find them. As police we’re not experts in dealing with monkeys. We can deal with mad bulls but monkeys are more difficult,” he said.

Along with an estimated 35,000 sacred cows and buffaloes that roam free in the capital, marauding monkeys have been longstanding pests.

They routinely scamper through government offices, courts and even police stations and hospitals as well as terrorise neighbourhoods.

I especially like the part where the police say they are experts in dealing with mad bulls but not mad monkeys.

Hilarious.

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Warped

Posted by parsingtime on September 5, 2007

India has completely warped my sense of clean and dirty. I keep piling up the clothes I wear (t-shirts, bras, socks, pants — not underwear because that is just wrong) because they aren’t dirty enough for the wash.

The pink t-shirt I wore yesterday? Well I only went to the post office in it and I didn’t sweat. Plus it still smells like my dryer sheets and not sewage. The capri’s I wore? They aren’t dirty, they don’t have any mud stains on them and they always had mud stains in India. Or you know they didn’t get completely soaked by polluted disease carrying monsoon rain on Elephanta Island and now have to be soaked in alcohol.

In normal life I wear clothes once and then wash them. But everything seems so clean post India. Interestingly, I told Husband about my clothes hording and he has been doing the same.

I need help.

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Last Post from Bombay

Posted by parsingtime on August 29, 2007

We landed in India and it still smells the same. We just spent the last three hours repacking our bags trying to get everything we’ve bought into our alotted weight limit. It was not easy and I’m pretty sure that during the process Husband thought I was being an nagging bitch and I thought he was being an asswipe. But what can you do. We are friends again.

My next post will be from Boston where I’m sure the bitching will continue given that I have about 8 loads of laundry to do and have to walk that laundry up and down five flights of stairs and to another building.  That does not sound like fun. But at least we will be home!

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Overheard in Mumbai

Posted by parsingtime on August 17, 2007

Overheard at Moshe’s a cafe in Crosswords, the Borders of India.

Girl 1: (fendi glasses on her head) I love eating here at the bookstore.
Girl 2: (Louis Vuitton purse by her side) Yeah. It makes you feel like you read even if you don’t.
Girl 1: Exactly.

Posted in Conversations, India | 1 Comment »

Cabbies

Posted by parsingtime on August 16, 2007

I officially lost it with the cab driver taking me to the gym. He tried to charge me 50 rupees for a 20 rupee ride. So I asked to see the card (which tells you the price) and saw that he was trying to cheat me, handed him 20 rupees and told him karma was a bitch and he was going to come back as a cockroach in his next life.

He looked genuinely shocked that I went off on him and definitely understood the going to hell overtones in my rant.

It is so wrong how satisfied I feel.

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Simpson’s

Posted by parsingtime on August 15, 2007

We went and saw The Simpson’s movie today in the adlabs “lounge” this is basically a 500 rupee screening room with huge ass lazy boys and a little waiter who brings popcorn and ice cream when you beckon. It was probably the best movie watching experience I’ve ever had…the only thing that would have made it better is if I had been wearing pyjamas.

Anyway it was fun and of course Husband enjoyed this quote from the movie: There’s a couple of things they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School: One is to cope with defeat, the other is to handle a shot gun. I’m doing both right now.

Only three more days in India before Thailand. AM SO READY TO GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE.

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Customer Service in this Country SUCKS ASS

Posted by parsingtime on August 6, 2007

Every time I think India is okay it goes and takes a big ol’ crap on me and I remember the Hindi teacher that took my money and has never shown up, the extortion in Delhi, the weeks it took to get a cell phone and every other small thing India and India’s customer service has done for me.

Another conversation with incompetent folks at Thai Airways

Me:Hi, I made a reservation online four days ago and I’m here to pay and get my tickets.
Thai: It’s been more than 72 hours since you made the reservation, it has been cancelled.
Me: Yes, I know it has been more than 72 hours but the monsoons shut everything down Friday and Saturday and you aren’t open on Sunday. I tried calling to find out what to do but no one answered.
Thai: What number were you calling
Me: 8993488483
Thai: Oh that number is no longer in service
Me: Tirade about changing websites etc so people know what number to call. Find out the number has been different for ten weeks and is still listed incorrectly. More tirade about incompetency. Well I’d like to rebook and pay for it now
Thai:Well our credit card machine is broken so we can’t accept your card but you can show up with <insert thousands of rupees> again tomorrow after re-booking online and we can accept your payment. The machine won’t be fixed for at least a week.
Me: I’m not driving home, re-booking and then returning here with thousands of rupees. That is why people have credit cards, so they don’t have to carry around cash.  I notice you have an office at the airport. Can I go to the airport and pay for the ticket by credit card there.
Thai: Oh yes, madam
Me: Great, please call and ask them if their credit card machine is working. I’ll go today.
Thai: Oh, no madam you can’t make reservations at the airport office.
Me: Staring. You just said I could
Thai: Well I thought you meant the office in Bangkok airport. You can pay for your ticket by credit card there.
Me: And how do you suppose I will get to Bangkok airport given that you won’t sell me a ticket? Hysterical screechiness beginning to seep into my voice  How am I supposed to get to Bangkok to pay for this ticket in the first place? Does that make any sense?
Thai: Oh…oh I don’t know.
Me: Please give me the US and Bangkok phone numbers for complaints

I’m sure this all seems overly dramatic to all of you. But after nine weeks of dealing with incompetent ridiculously incompetent people and not ever being able to get the service I want on the first try I’ve had it up to here (arm stretched way above my head) with the customer service in this country.

Posted in Conversations, India | 1 Comment »

Hard Rock

Posted by parsingtime on August 5, 2007

We have gotten to the point where masala flavored everything is just getting to be too much for Husband and I.  Masala chips, chicken tikka malsala, masala dosa, masala chaas…seriously India, it’s time to take a break from the masala.

Basically despite being Indian Husband and I are so over Indian food.  We finally reached a breaking point and went to Hard Rock Cafe Mumbai, a place we would never go in real life.  We headed over to Hard Rock and ate spinach dip, burgers and ice cream sundaes. It was Hard Rock in India so none of those things were particularly wonderful but then again none of them tasted of masala so we were happy pay through the nose for our little American fest of a meal (seriously Husband and I went to Elco Pani Puri in Bandra and our meal was 250 rupees. That’s $6.25 in the US!). Tonight it going to be Dominoes night I think. Though we are going to avoid the paneer, masala corn pizza as well as the masala chicken pizza.

Two more weeks and then we are headed to Thailand and then back to Beantown. Though in reality it will be 26 days before we are home. It seems like a long time.

I should also mention that this weekend we missed the wedding of two lovely people (one of them from Thailand) and I just wanted to say congrats to Tiem and Car. I can’t wait to see the photos.

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Shop Talk

Posted by parsingtime on August 3, 2007

In a store in Bandra where my flatmate Gina was trying on clothes. It was a women’s clothing store but like most places in India only men were working at it.

Shopkeep: You are Indian yes?
Me: Yes.
Shopkeep: And you speak Hindi
Me: No.
Shopkeep: Where are you from.
Me: US
Shopkeep: But you like India better right because you are Indian
Me: staring I’m American.
Shopkeep: Oh, uhhh, your friend is from the US too?
Me: No, Canada
Shopkeep: Well they are like the same country. There is no real difference.
Me: Yes, just like there is no difference between India and Pakistan.
Shopkeep: horrified look upon his face

I really do find it quite annoying that just because I’m brown I’m supposed to love this country more or feel more patriotism or whatever. I’m Indian. I identify myself as such, but I’m an American as well. 

I really love the US (I don’t love Bush, but that is a whole other issue) and identify strongly with the politics, people, and culture. I feel like a foreigner here in India more than the US.  The people here seem shocked when I tell them that I am several generations removed from India. I don’t speak the language, I have no family here, except those inherited by marriage, and life here is foreign to me. I may be brown and 100% Indian by blood but I’m not an Indian from India. I’m not even an NRI.

Yes, people here look more like me than in the US and people here tend to be the same religion but I really can’t identify myself as Indian because of those things. I’m Indian-American and quite frankly the US — where my parents, family, friends and life is — is home.

Posted in Conversations, India | 2 Comments »

Dharavi

Posted by parsingtime on July 25, 2007

Random Banker and I went to Dharavi while in Mumbai. It is the biggest slum in Asia and an company that basically works as a non-profit trying to provide schooling ect provides a tour of it.

If you told any native Mumbaiker that you were going to visit Dharavi they would have told you you were crazy and to give it a miss. However, I’m going to tell you that if you are in Mumbai go take the tour. http://realitytoursandtravel.com/

It is really worth your while. Of course there are some smelly parts (it is a slum and there is raw sewage) and the roads aren’t finished but I can’t tell you how interesting it was. It is a group of poor people who need a place to live and built shacks and now it is a place where over a million people live (in 1 sqaure KM no less) and proves that people fundamentally want to trade.  There is a complete society within this slum.  They collect plastic bottles and recycle them and then resell it. They clean out oil cans, scrape off the labels and resell it to the oil makers. The women make papads (an indian type of appetizer). A company provides the raw materials and they roll them out and package them. Over $65 million US dollars flows into that slum. They make clothes (which certainly makes me think about the made in india labels!) and have doctors and schools all within the slum walls.

It was dirty and smelly and definitely not for the faint of heart but RB and I got to see a part of Bombay that very few people see. Poor people who are working really hard to make it. They don’t have a lot of electricity, running water is only for two hours a day and they are all dirt poor by most of western societies standards but you could tell they were proud to show off what they do and how they earn a living. They may live in Asia’s largest slum but it is a community where people really are trying to work for their money and do better for themselves.

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