Tag Archives: delhi

Welcome to 2013

I realize it’s been quiet from this end for a while. The festive seasons came and went, interrupted by a work trip to Bangladesh, a social trip to the mountains and friends’ visits to Delhi.

I just returned from two weeks in Norway, where I enjoyed indoor heating and cockroach free bathrooms (it took me a good week to stop looking for them).

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Back in Delhi it’s cold as (insert expression of choice here) and we had to give in and purchase a heater. And another one the day after that. We have 8 blankets in the living room, and lots of tea. And a hot water bottle. The targeted ads in my browser clearly reflect my dreams of trips to warmer climes.

The unexpected houseguestBut all is well. We’re happy and healthy on this 6th day of the New Year, and we’re even extending some of our food and heat to less fortunate souls, like this little creature we found outside our front door this morning. He managed to sneak by us and place himself next to one of our newly acquired heaters – and he has no intention of leaving. Undernourished and injured, he impolitely declined an offer of soy milk (read: spit it out) and settled for some highly sought after Makrell i tomat, specially imported from Norwegia.

In other news, 2013 comes with lots of changes and challenges. I’ll be trying out some more careers (nutrionist/health coach, specifically). Mr Cyriac and I will be getting married. We’ll be deciding where to go (or stay) next. And who knows, maybe we’ll be raising a limp kitten. Only time will tell. And I’ll do my best to tell you all about it here.

It’s Diwali, y’all

It’s been quiet on my blog for a while. “Yoging”, as Mr Cyriac calls it, has taken up most of my time – but as a result, I am now a certified yoga teacher, as can be evidenced by this photo. 

One place that’s certainly not quiet is our house. Noisy at the best of times, it’s positively loud now that Diwali is upon us. Fireworks are going off in every direction (mostly sideways along the ground), and they’re of a particularly ear splitting variety. The kind that makes you lose your bearings for a bit if you’re standing too close. And the smoke they give off blends nicely with the winter “fog” (read: smog)  to make blowing your nose at night a real pleasure. As a certified yogi, I suppose now is the time to start using that neti pot.

I don’t know if Diwali is also responsible for our neighborhood sikhs suddenly starting to start chanting down our street with drums and bells at five in the morning. I’ll admit it’s slightly more exciting than the nocturnal dog fights between our guard’s latest ‘acqusitions’, Kalu and Brownie, and anyone who dares step into their street. I still prefer sleep though.
I’m pretty sure the drum-beating monkey keeper who has recently stationed himself on our street corner has nothing to do with Diwali. He’s just annoying all year round and now he happens to be annoying us. His monkeys are pretty cute still.

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Diwali is not all bad, of course. It’s a great excuse for putting up our Christmas lights early (I believe here they’re called Diwali lights!), for admiring miles and miles of brilliantly orange marigold garlands down every street, for buying pretty flower petals, and lighting candles all over the house. And eating sweets. Diwali cupcakes? Sure, have two.

So today, on the festival of lights, may the light of love and divinity shine brightly in all of your hearts. And may no firecrackers come flying through your windows. Shanti!

Mr Cyriac stuffs it

Alternative titles for this post included “Mr Cyriac stuffs things” and“Mr Cyriac stuffs his pouf”, but I felt that might draw the wrong kind of readers to the blog. But it is indeed a post about Mr Cyriac stuffing things.

As some of you may know, Mr Cyriac likes to collect and keep things. Like last year’s Christmas tree. Or nice sticks that he finds on the ground. Cardboard boxes. Wooden boxes. Stuff in general. This has not changed after moving to India.

Since receiving our shipment of stuff from Italy, Mr Cyriac has been collecting more fun stuff. While I was excited to have all our kitchen appliances and bedding, Mr Cyriac was excited about this pile of brown paper that he has carefully unwrapped and pressed. And some bubble wrap. And Styrofoam!

Today Mr Cyriac was even more pleased to find a use for some of his collectibles. They can be used to stuff things!

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While resting on the futon, I captured this fascinating series of events that I’m generously sharing with you. See Mr Cyriac carefully remove the tape and fold up this bubble wrap and stuff it in the pouf! See Mr Cyriac uncrumple and recrumple brown paper and stuff it in the pouf! See Mr Cyriac break apart Styrofoam with his head, crumple it and stuff it in the pouf! What a man.

Do stay tuned to find out what Mr Cyriac will do with his pile of uncrumpled brown paper. I, for one, can’t wait.

Yoga, you say?

Everyone has an opinion on yoga. This is not an entirely new realization, but it’s something that’s become even more obvious over the last few weeks as I’ve been telling new friends that I’m training to be a yoga teacher.

The responses are many and varied, but I’ve heard few along the lines of “Oh that’s nice, good for you” or “That’s interesting”. Nope, the responses I get are laden with judgment – of me as a student of yoga or of people who do yoga in general. Some have been shocked that I occasionally drink alcohol and eat meat, because no true yogi would ever do that, and thus dismiss me. Others are more interested in telling me that the styles of yoga that I practice aren’t real yoga (on which I could write a series of posts). Or that I practice at the wrong time of day, or facing in the wrong direction, modern lifestyles be damned. Some have said “Excuse me, its not called yoga teacher, its called a yogi“. Then there are those that are refuse to believe that I can be sore or tired after a session, “because you don’t do anything”. The other day I got into a bit of a tiff with someone who suggested the idea of yoga training was ridiculous, as there are no safety aspects and no special skills that need to be learned (obviously, he had never taken a class in his life). “I mean, you just tell people to lay down and breathe”.


There are also those people that just want to lecture you no matter what. Where do they get it from, this idea that they need to explain to me how to do this pose and that, five minutes after I tell them that I do yoga, without ever having practiced with me? These guys haven’t been to a class in years, and yet they need give you a piece of their mind. I’m starting to think that maybe I just look really, really stupid and in dire need of help?

But the most interesting observation is that 90% of these comments are from men, from all over the world. Either men who practice regularly or men who have never taken a yoga class in their life. Why men seemingly have such a desire for lecturing young women on the “real thruths of yoga”, I have no idea. I’d be curious to hear some suggestions though, because I am sure this is part of a larger phenomena. Any thoughts?

P.S. Yoga teacher training is so far pretty awesome. And pretty useful. And pretty  darn tiring.

Life at our doorstep

Coming from Norway, very much a do-it-yourself kind of country, I used to think that home delivery in the US was a nice break. I didn’t use it all that often, but on cold, rainy nights it made life a little easier. On one occasion I even ordered groceries to my house, but wasn’t overly impressed.

A fairly unrelated photo of us delivering mattresses and a broom to our house all by ourselves

Home delivery in India, on the other hand, is nothing short of amazing (if somewhat slow and unpredictable at times). Restaurant delivery from a hundred restaurants within a 3 kilometer radius is convenient. So is the fact that the corner store will deliver our eggs and milk for free, and that a range of businesses providing organic produce and grains have a la carte online shops with daily (and often free) delivery, or weekly deliveries of up to 10 kg of surprise produce for $10. The water guy delivers 20 liter bottles of drinking water to our house every time we run out. Pharmacies will bring medicines home to us, and even draw our blood as we relax on the sofa. I can get my back snapped back into place by the mobile chiropractor. But the real life changing home delivery service, the one that blew Mr Cyriac’s mind is the one we discovered at a friends house on Saturday: the beer shop delivers! For free! Having a party and out of beer? No need to worry, the beer man will hop on his bike and come to your rescue. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it was amazing, right?

The last in a chain of home delivery events came yesterday as we were sitting in our living room, slowly realizing that the Delhi dust is taking over our floors and most of our time. A friendly looking lady rings our doorbell, wondering if perhaps we were looking for some househelp since we’re new to the building? Well yes, we are, thank you very much for asking.

Now we just need someone to show up at our door with a couple of bed sheets, some cushions and a bedframe.

A cause for celebration

We’re apartmentful! Apartmentful is the opposite of apartmentless, right?

Our apartment, with the big bright windows

Mister and I have found our Delhi home. A bright and white two bedroom apartment on a relatively quiet street overlooking a relatively green area in GK-2 (many things are relative in Delhi, I’ll have you know). Our life stories, lifestyles and finances were approved and we got to move in this week. This of course means embarking on a whole new Delhi chapter: home making. 

Last weekend was spent scouting Amar Colony market for pieces of furniture not already in a million other Delhi homes (I’m looking at you, FabIndia). For those of you not in the know, Amar Colony furniture market is the place to go for antique, refurbished or simply copies of antique wooden furniture from all over the subcontinent. You probably won’t find your next bed here, but if you’re not careful you might walk away with half a dozen intricately painted cabinets and a handful of Buddha and/or Ganesh figurines. We managed to stay clear of all of these for now – but some are coming home with us soon, I am fairly sure.

Unfortunately less exciting purchases must be made first, because an unfurnished apartment in Delhi is unfurnished in every sense of the word. No fridge, no gas range, not even a gas connection.

Actually eating in.

We’d heard horror stories about the intricacies of getting a gas line, and our fears were confirmed today when they told us there’s a three-month wait to apply for one. But, pull some strings, or, in our case, pull up to the gas company worker on the side of the road and strike up a friendly conversation, and you might just have a same day connection. The obvious lack of gas burner and, err, cups and plates means we’ll still be eating out for some time yet though.

Furniture shipment, all the way from Noida


The home making and market trawling will continue throughout the weekend, pending a speedy Delhi belly recovery (it took three weeks, but it finally got me), so with a mattress, dining table and loveseat in place, we’re calling it quits for today. May you all enjoy ample clean, home cooked meals this weekend!

 

The perfect apartment vs. the (im)perfect tenant

I’ll start this post the same way as the last one: we’re still apartmentless. Hopefully this will be the last time I say it. We’ve found a candidate that is 95% ours (landlord’s words, not mine). In Delhi, getting to 100% is no easy feat though. We’ve seen 31 apartments so far – most of which didn’t meet our standards – and the ones we liked we weren’t necessarily worthy of.

Landlords all over the world look for the perfect tenant. Someone with a good, fixed income, likely to stay put for a while. Delhi landlords take it to another level  (Delhiites be warned: generalizations ahead). Online ads will specify whether meat eaters may reside in said apartment, and if bachelors are permitted. In person, they will ask you for your job title, office number and supervisor’s name – and to actually get the lease you may have to supply your contract of employment. Others will ask you to be home before 11 pm every night. For security purposes only, of course. The old lady with a potentially nice house on that nice, clean street will not even let you in to see the empty flat unless you are Bengali and have children to entertain her.

And then other landlords are just plain funny.

Landlord: How can you go upstairs without even introducing yourself? I don’t even have your agent’s card!

Mister C: Sorry Uncle, my name is Cyriac.

Landlord: Sak!

Mister C: Cyriac

Landlord: Sark!

Mister C: Cyriac (with Indian accent)

Landlord: Krak! Yes, Mr. Job he is international Christian, living just there. He died.

In a few days we will know whether we’ve been deemed worthy of the above-mentioned apartment with the beautiful windows. Until then, we keep our ears and eyes open to news of other open abodes, while taking a weekend of rest from physical apartment hunting (read: scouting for second hand furniture, ovens and fridges – and cafés with soy milk!).

Here’s hoping for a weekend full of blog-worthy events!

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