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):
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!