Posts Tagged ‘india’

I could write about so many things but I have to be in a particular frame of mind to get the gears grinding for certain topics.

So, today I will just write about monkeys.

I have been in Delhi now for twenty days.

One morning, around 6:00am, I went up to the balcony on the third floor looking for an item. The pup followed as usual. Thumper is a Jack Russell mix with loads of energy.

Out of the corner of my eye I spy two monkeys sitting on the post. I was a bit startled. Immediately hoped the dog didn’t see them. Then I see five of them.

Too late. My Thump spots them and makes a beeline for the ones sitting on the balcony post. They all seemed to scramble and disappear.

Then one suddenly pops back up, leers and leans down toward my dog! Very aggressive and no fear at all.

I’m yelling for my husband, one floor below, who is on the telephone with one of our kids.

Grabbing a golf club, I yell at the monkeys, “Shoo, Shoo!” Or some gobbledygook.

Husband comes up, takes the club from me and runs to the monkeys and they flee.

monkeybalcony

I was sort of shaking. The surprise of it all and fearing for my dog.

Then they went into the front yard and made a mess. Broke tree branches.

Here’s one of the cheeky monkeys sucking flowers on the opposite side of the yard.

monkeyfront

I’m no stranger to monkeys. There were plenty of them in Malaysia where we lived for five years. Especially near the area where my daughter attended school. But I never had the aggressive face to face experience with them in my yard or on my balcony.

I’d read about the monkeys before arriving in Delhi. Current count is 30,000 monkeys in the city. Yes, the city. Not the countryside.

My husband thinks that might be underestimating it. Yikes.

It’s a tricky situation. There’s a preservation a couple of blocks away from our home. Meant to keep the monkeys protected and contained.

monkeyres

But many folks here feed them on Tuesdays and Saturdays for religious reasons. Because of the Hindu monkey god. Feeding them is considered auspicious for the devout.

So I’m not sure why they are leaving the preservation and coming into neighborhoods. Maybe over crowding or looking for more food on the off days.

They are scary. Such a menace, in fact, that there are actually measures in place to keep them at bay.

This is what I really wanted to tell you.

The measures in place are monkeys.

Langurs.

These are actual monkeys (and in these cases-trained monkeys) and apparently the only thing that has deterred the pesky Rhesus monkeys in the past.

Yes, langur monkeys and their handlers have been hired to control the smaller Rhesus monkeys. Until it was banned. But still a black market trade.

Brides have hired langur handlers and their monkeys for outdoor weddings to keep the smaller monkeys away so they don’t ruin the special day.

They’re even hired to guard the homes of political leaders, judges, and other VVIPs.

Thankfully, I haven’t seen them on our property since that first week but I certainly plan on remaining vigilant. Extremely vigilant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a little more than a week in India under my belt. Yay!

No friends yet but I’m really okay with that for the moment.

Totally chilling after a very busy and sometimes trying year.

The other day I planned to make lamb chops for my husband.

Are you sick of the same old “blah” lamb chop/pork chop dishes? This one is so easy and so delicious. Here it is. I’ve used it for pork and lamb.

http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com/2015/06/balsamic-brown-sugar-lamb-chops/

Anyway, I went to a nice grocery and the meat department didn’t have the cut I wanted.

So, I was taken to a very local butcher by the driver. Place was totally real.

Before you get all, “Oooh, Mary has a driver. She must think she’s something else! Isn’t she a lucky duck!” please remember that this is India and a lot of companies do not allow their employees or families to drive here. So transportation is usually provided. You’d only need to be in Delhi for five minutes before realizing this is a very safe and sound decision on the employers’ part.

Back to the local butcher shop down a Delhi side street.

I walk in and ask for lamb chops. Try not to look around too much because I don’t want to see too much by way of a butcher shop. Like blood or extras if you know what I mean.

The butcher, who is sitting, understands and has his assistant grab the meat from behind a counter. Young guy hands it to the head honcho who then asks me how much I want. I tell him.

He has his butcher’s knife firmly planted between his feet. Yes, that is correct. Knife between his two feet.

Then he takes the meat with his hands and brings it down toward the feet clamped knife and slices the lamb chops for me.

Okay, that’s not something you see every day.

I pay him and am soon on my way back home.

There is no way I am telling my husband the butcher feet story. He’d never eat the meal.

I clean the meat and make my lamb chops.

My husband keeps saying how good it is. Happily chewing away. And it was really good. If I do say so myself.

All of a sudden, he’s got a funny look on his face and is taking something out of his mouth. It looked like a bit of bone.

Oh my gosh. What bit is it? I knew this butcher thing probably wasn’t a good idea.

It ends up being his temporary partial bridge! Poor guy! Must have been the slightly sticky (although yummy) brown sugar sauce.

Ingredient related. Age related. But not butcher related. Whew!

Just the same, I think I’ll hold off on any future butcher shop visits.

At least, for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I lived in Southern California I attended Mass in my community. It was always led by Fr. Fred.

Loved his sermons. I would, more often than not, leave with a message that would cause me to reflect for the week.

Fred would also write a little blurb in the weekly bulletin.

I just moved to India and was unpacking some things in our new home. A purple piece of paper fluttered in the drawer. It was one of Fr. Fred’s reflections that I had cut out of the church bulletin about seven years ago.

It is as relevant today as it was then. Nature wreaking havoc (always) and the “blamers” coming out of the woodwork (always) to tag these disasters as God’s dissatisfaction with us.

“God is punishing us because…..!”

“God is punishing them because…..!

Ummm, no.

blame

It sort of struck me as interesting that I should find this-with the U.S. coming off the heels of Harvey and Irma and some folks wanting to place the blame on the sins of the people.

What Fred’s saying is that natural disasters are just that. We sometimes happen to be in the path because of where we live. It’s not a judgement or punishment. It is what it is.

Many folks are faced with personal disasters that have nothing to do with Mother Nature’s force and it’s hard to understand. It might be illness, an accident, death of a loved one, job loss, etc.

We are not being punished although it can feel like we are. It might not be anyone’s fault but still we are rendered feeling helpless. I suppose the only choice, in these instances, is how we try and move forward.

Other times we can get trapped in our very own disasters which are caused by the choices we make. Not anyone else.

This is when we need to be looking within and not blaming outside sources. And really ask ourselves if we are owning our choices.

We are not being punished.

It’s all about choices.

 

 

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I received an email from my husband the other day. Most likely from his phone. He is currently living in India while I have been in the U.S. with my daughter for the summer. We were fortunate to see each other for a few days this past July in New York.

The email’s subject was  “Girl Part Needed.”

Ummm, okay.

I was a little taken aback. I know that we have not seen each other in a month and I get that he misses me but he usually verbalizes this and doesn’t ever put anything racy in writing. He knows the woman he married–I am a bit conservative when it comes to that sort of thing.

Then I see the three accompanying links and I am afraid to click on them.

I shouldn’t have worried.

The three links were for grill parts. He wanted me to order them and bring them to India. So that we can barbecue when I finally arrive in India.

I should have known.

#autocorrect

 

 

 

 

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This weekend I was at the mall shopping for a prom dress.

Not for me. I am fifty one years old. Been a long time since I had a need for shopping OR a prom dress. The last prom I attended was in a dress borrowed from my friend Linda McCoart. 1980s.

Received a call from a friend. Asking if I had heard of a couple-parents from our school-having an accident in a popular tourist area outside of Kuala Lumpur.

My heart dropped but I said that I hadn’t heard a thing.

She said, “It was a couple from Pakistan and I saw you (and your husband) talking to them at the International Fest at school.”

Everyone knows my memory stinks. And everyone knows I talk to everybody.

I said, “I don’t remember.”

She said, “They both work at your husband’s company.”

Oh gosh.

She told me the name of the woman. It didn’t ring any bells. I asked if she knew the name of the husband. She didn’t.

Because she really didn’t know this couple. But she is also Pakistani.

I went home and checked the directory at the school by putting in the woman’s first name. Then when I found her surname I typed that in and got all people with that last name.

And it was someone I knew. The guy had taken over my husband’s team when my husband left for a new position in India.

I remembered the last time I was with him-partying at a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

I texted a friend who works at my husband’s company asking if anyone in the office had an accident.

He confirmed what/who I thought. It’s a small community.

I told him how I came upon the information.

He said that the Pakistani network is very strong. When he went to help the wife Friday night the global Pakistani network was in full force on her phone.

He also said,”I guess like many of the national groups.”

I called my friend. She didn’t answer.

She called back in a bit. Said she was on the phone with the wife. And was going to the hospital that evening to be with her.

This is what happened.

Family goes away for the weekend. Dad, Mom and two little ones. They stop at a waterfall on the way to the tea plantations. Dad slips and falls, quite a drop, and takes blow to the head. Thought he was dead. Locals rescue him from drowning. Although the fall into the water probably saved him from death. Wife takes husband to hospital a half hour away.

He has a head injury, broken ribs and arm. From what I am told he should be okay and is now recovering in a hospital here in Kuala Lumpur.

Thank God he will recover.

I was amazed (not really) at the response of a community looking out for their own.

Honestly. It is really hard when these things occur.

When you are in your hometown family and friends will flock to your (or your family’s) side.

When you are hundreds of miles away who do you have?

You have your community.

I know if something happened to me I would have the support of my friends who hail from Canada, Scotland, England, Ireland, Denmark, Trinidad, Lebanon, New Zealand, Australia etc.

But I also know that my American friends would be pushing, rallying and rapping at the door. And Americans who I might not even know.

That is what makes living away from home just a little bit easier.

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Some people walk into a room and nothing happens. Others walk in and there’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” That quality you just can’t put into words.

I think Sunny Balzano had this quality. A barkeep in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Just died recently. My cousin, who had spent time in his place of business, posted about his demise.

I’ve been to Red Hook, thanks to that same cousin and husband, who took us around the area and the water. The view from the pilings-you could almost hear, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl.” Okay, maybe not, but it was, once upon a time, a place of respite for the longshoremen of New York.

Never met Sunny. Wished I had.

Everything I read about him made me think.

He was an artist. From Italian-American stock that ran a local bar. I know you are thinking NY bar=Irish American. Not in this case.

You can read about Sunny by just googling. I won’t reinvent the wheel.

But a few things struck me about Sunny.

He came home from abroad (his Indian enlightenment) because his father was sick.

After his father died, he (the artist) helped in the bar. Not because it was his life calling. But because his father’s brother was running it alone and he wanted to keep his uncle company. He knew nothing about pouring a drink.

Another thing was an interviewer had asked him about his ideal customer. This was his answer.

“You can feel it. You can feel when there could be a hundred people in the place, but if there is one that disturbs the flow, the unity of it, the communion—it only takes one. Then if you ever come in here and see me with one person or I’m treating them like a good pal, because I don’t do that—I spread myself around. If I’m with one person, I’m trying to quiet the savage beast in that person. And that’s the truth. The one that seems to need it the most is the one I’m going to be with.”

After reading everything I could about Sunny Balzano I came to one conclusion.

Kindness.

Put his family before himself, truly cared about his extended family, abated his uncle’s loneliness and soothed the savage beast within a customer.

Might not sound like much. Maybe not a lot of framed scratch on the wall. But really, how wonderful.

Rest in peace, Sunny. We can only hope to take a page out of your book and make the time to quiet the savage beast in our fellow humans.

“The one that seems to need it the most is the one I’m going to be with.”

 

 

 

 

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It’s been eight years since I started this blog. Seems hard to believe.

I’ve had visitors from all over the world. The biggest “hits” on my site are from the United States. Followed by India and Ireland.

India because I once wrote about a young Brown student who went missing. Now every time someone searches the first name (not necessarily him but the first name which seems to be popular in India) they come across my blog. And we all know India is a well populated place.

Ireland, I suppose, is just the power of a big family. And lots of friends.

I have wondered if I should just let it go. Maybe it’s getting old. Maybe I am constantly regurgitating old stuff.

So, I’m looking for feedback. Should I go out like Johnny Carson? At the top of his game when people might actually miss him?

Or should I continue writing this blog?

Be honest. I can take it.

Thank you!

 

 

 

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