Thursday, December 2, 2010

our new home

The new "flat" seems just huge to us. It is about twice the sq. footage of the apt. we just left in NYC, and the three bedrooms are not connected—we don't even have to walk through one to get to the other one--what luxury! We are away from downtown and it is less noisy, though there are weddings and continuous construction projects and that sort of thing, so I would not exactly call it quiet.
Check it out, a LOT of people live here; this is the building opposite ours and there are a couple other buildings to the right and left of us, too:

(here's the guestroom, Aunt Mer:)
playground just below our livingroom balcony (don't worry, Aunt Jerah, I keep the door to the balcony locked):

living and dining room both have glass tables (yikes):
Overall, the transition has gone fairly smoothly. But there have been a few little, um, adventures thrown in, too. Apparently the evil tummy-trouble fairies thought we were having it too easy and A. got sick the day we arrived and has been sick since. In fact, we finally put her on anti-nausea & anti-diarrhea meds for fear she was becoming too dehydrated, poor kid.
Also, we have found there is quite a bit of cleaning to do before the flat could be properly called clean, along with a few repairs that have come to our attention. Which brings me to this photo:

A wood box? What on earth is that about, you wonder? Well, beats me, but we sure are curious.
You can't really tell in the photo, but there are black handprints all over the walls. Before moving in, we had requested that someone come and clean up that mess, along with a few other obvious ones (unfortunately, we did not realize QUITE how much cleaning needed to be done or believe me, I would have negotiated all of at signing. Oh well…).

But hey, communication is tricky sometimes, even without a language barrier. And even though Jeremy speaks some Hindi, unfortunately for us Kolkata is in West Bengal where people mostly speak Bengali. So… it has been interesting.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with this. For example, one plumber came in on Tuesday and refused to acknowledge that he and I did not have a common language. I just kept speaking in English and shrugging and trying to make him understand that I did NOT understand him, but he was not one to become discouraged. Surely if he kept at it and repeated the words more slowly I would understand? He explained in detail (in Bengali) all that he had done and he kept on for so long that you know what, I finally just kind of laughed and nodded because there was nothing else to do!

Then there was the other plumber who came today to fix the leaking washing machine problem. He knew I didn't know what he was saying but still he kept insisting he had fixed the problem and I kept insisting that he had not and he kept pointing to the stream of water in order to prove to me that all was well because the machine was clearly filling up with water as it should and I kept objecting and trying to explain that THAT was not the issue, but then I had to give up again (at least until I could find an interpreter) because for the life of me I could not figure out how I would ever explain, with hand motions, that the machine is fine until it shifts into the rinse cycle at which time it drains all the wash cycle water onto the floor. I mean, do YOU know how to say that in Bengali?

And now back to the wood box: no, we don't know why it is there, but two carpenters came over and constructed it for us today. Measuring then sawing the wood, banging in the nails, shavings everywhere—they spent several hours building that thing and hanging it up there today.

Our guess is that maybe when WE thought we were pointing out the dirt all over the walls and could they please wipe it down perhaps THEY thought we meant "build a wood box on the wall over there, please." Or maybe the landlord or the broker sent them over and just never mentioned it to us (but why)? Probably, we'll never know, but it is a fine piece of work, isn't it.

Welcome home to Kolkata to us!


Billy said...

I pretty much love everything in this post to a wild degree. But especially the Royal Tenenbaumsy ennui of the sixth photo down.

Billy said...

I hope you tipped well for the box.

Anonymous said...

Does this luxury apartment still include squatty potties and bucket baths?

leia said...

dan wants to know if br has gotten any cheese.

leia said...

also, have you looked inside the box?

p-roc's mom said...


don't look inside the box!! keep it a mystery!! bring it back to nyc and sell it at a fancy art auction!!

Meredith said...

I SOOO cannot wait to get there!

clairesd said...

Granny: no squatties, but we do have a bucket bath (and a shower, although that is still broken)
Leia: no cheese yet, and I am NOT looking in that box...

lepetitprince said...

Your palace is so impressing.You pretty deserve it.How weird, that's in India that you get such luxury.Yes definitely keep the wood box a mystery, drape it with silk if it looks odd.
And I actually can see the footprints on the walls, that's levitation my dear.
Loved your post and adventures with plumbers, thinking about it may be recording with a camera the steps where the washing machine actually leaks could help the brave plumber figuring out what he is asked for.
Or keep talking with hands like in Morroco.
Is A doing better/coping with her welcoming stomach buggies?
By the way, how long would you be staying there?
Lucky Mer to be your guest.

leia said...

what is wrong with you people. look in the box. in kansas, we would look in the box.