Friday, March 20, 2009

Here comes the bride...

One of the main reasons we’re back at the moment is that we have two entirely unrelated weddings to attend. For one of them, the bride to be is having a small girls night out tonight. This is not a hen party - as she’s posh and doesn’t do things like hen parties.

But she does drink with Memsahib. Her and the rest of the terrifyingly intelligent, attractive and conquering circle of long standing varied friends. This simply means one thing. Lock up your firm young sons, lest they be lost forever, like a Viking raiding party coming to visit.

As this isn’t a hen party, I was technically invited to come out with them, but there are limits to my risk acceptance and when I determined I’d be the only man there I feared they’d have an “Officer and a Gentlemen” style navy suit waiting for me as part of some ritual humiliation and cheap evenings entertainment.

So I declined for once.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Never a truer word spoken

Back in London and back to the implant specialist who is about to perform both an extraction (from my bank account) and an insertion of the implant rod.

As I walk into the surgery, I notice the full array of surgical instruments laid out and turn a tad pale.

“Oh yes” he says, “We keep thinking every time a patient comes in and looks nervous, we really should keep those covered to one side….”

“You think?”, I reply.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

“What we've got here is... failure to communicate.”

While waiting for a conference call to get started, Memsahib is engaged in conversation with her colleagues on the call about Delhi, They’re all asking how it’s going and is she still enjoying it and then one of them pipes up with a request. This colleague, who would probably wish to remain nameless for obvious reasons (Hi there Steve), asks if Memsahib could purchase a black pashmina for him to give to his wife as he meant to pick one up when he was last in India but ran out of time.

She says fine and then says that as there is a price range with a normal one costing roughly £20 and a very nice pure one casting £80, what type of price range is he thinking?

At this point the other men on the call join in,

“Steve, is it her birthday?”
“Well it’s not Christmas, so it must be an anniversary?”

Upon hearing this there4 is a rumbling consensus of
“Well you can’t get the £80 one, it sets a dangerous precedent”

At this point, Memsahib interjects with the neutron bomb
“She has born your children, more than one in fact. Get the £80 one”

The men are silenced but dissent rumbles, fearing a wife gift inflationary spiral about to erupt.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

“Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon…”

Kathryn leaves today.

It’s been an eventful visit, especially as while she was here Memsahib was bitten on her eyelid by a mosquito, causing her (good) eye to puff up like Apollo Greed meets Ivan Drago. Kathryn as well has her war wounds, with a dodgy digestion that is still rumbling. Only I remain untouched.

My theory is karma; obviously they’ve done bad things in the past week, mainly forcing me to look at purchases, and now the scales are balancing.

After explaining this I then have to point out that language like that does not earn spiritual brownie points. It’s hard being a sage.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

While the cats away

The advantage of being left alone for a few days (until the inevitable price tag of repeated insistence to “come look what I bought” is presented for payment) is that I can control the menu. This translates simply as “Sir would like the curry much hotter”.

It’s the small pleasures.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

“I’ll take it in lots of colours”

The girls are off for a weekend away to sight see and shop. How much of the Indian economy 12% growth rate is down to Memsahib and friends is a question worthy of government studies.

Friday, March 6, 2009

“I’ll take mine to go”

We’re off to Bukhara. Kathryn is very excited. She’s been looking forward to going there for months as she’s heard wonderful things about it from everyone.

Unfortunately, she’s also developed a touch of the Delhi Belly and ten minutes after we sit down, she runs for the powder-room. On her return, she looks longingly at the food and tries a few mouthfuls before deciding that, though she loves it, she won’t be able to keep it in her. She then spends the rest of the evening watching us fill our faces.

We take a doggie bag home on the off chance she feels like some for lunch the next day, but in the end it’s the local pack who end up dining at one of the top fifty restaurants in the world.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

“I’m having seconds for starters”

Memsahibs friend, Kathryn, likes the food here.

It’s get in quick or there’s none for you when she sits down. As is the usual way of these things, she’s a tiny girl and doesn’t show where she puts it all, but a place on a competitive eating team awaits her when career coaching wanes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

“She’s a girl, of course she’ll have a hairdryer”

The visitor train is rattling along at speed now. We’ve got a friend of Memsahib’s from work coming for a week. Apparently she’s some kind of coach….

Thursday, February 26, 2009

“His work here is done”

It’s time for Sensei Dad to leave.

Having experienced India for long enough, he feels it’s time to return back to Bromyard where he claims, “you can get a proper curry.” While we’re sad to see him go, it does mean the balance of power shifts back to Memsahib and I, rather than the rotating Eurasia/Eastasia/Oceania smart-arse comment alliances that occurred every breakfast.

As is his style, he departs unseen, with only a puff of smoke masking his vanishing….

And the chorus of barking dogs….

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

“Mr Bond I presume”

Off to have a black tie ensemble made for a friends’ wedding in April. It’s very easy - I’ll just take the picture in, and ask them to make me look like this. For any man in the last 40 years this really is the gold standard of what they want when they put a dinner jacket on.

What we desperately don’t want is to conjure up images of this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shouldn’t have had that side-order

After lunch, we start walking to the dock to meet the boat. What was described as a 20 minute stroll becomes very obviously not when we look at a bus map on the road side after walking 30 minutes and realise we’re only a quarter of the way.

No problem, we decide to flag down a tuk-tuk. We obviously got some kind of tuk-tuk equivalent of a Smart car. While your average tuk-tuk will normally carry 16 locals happily, this one barely allows the three of us inside with me having to squat as the seat isn’t quite wide enough. Much pointing as the driver carries us along, but we make it.

“Ahhhh Cato.”

We’ve moved onto Kochin for a few days to see the fishing nets in the backwaters of Kerala. Rising early the next morning we wander down to the breakfast area to look for Memsahib’s father who suddenly pops up behind us silently with only a whisper on the marble to announce his arrival.

After breakfast we decide to take the tour to see the fishing nets. Just as we’re about to head off the meeting point for the slow boat, the hotel manager comes trotting over and informs us that there’s been a cancellation and the speedboat is free if we’d like to use that instead. As none of us are known for our patience, we agree covering more distance in less time is the best idea.

Getting into the boat proves the challenge of morning; Memsahib goes first as she is the lady and sets off a certain rocking motion. Sensei Dad is next and politely avoids showing us up with any back flips, simply stepping into the boat lightly. Finally I get in with both of them urging the pilot to start up and pull away while I’m straddling the dock and deck. It’s all fun and japes.

After spending a few hours racing down the waterways we arrange to get dropped off for lunch in Fort Kochi. We wander through the town and find a seaside restaurant where I eat the best spicy prawns I’ve had for long time.

Sensei Dad and I start talking about why surfing doesn’t seem to be a big sport in India even though they have thousands of miles of warm coastline. Maybe it’s the difficulty in preparing and maintaining the surfboards I suggest. But it’s quite simple he says; “Wax on, Wax off”.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I especially liked the way he took the stone from my hand...

Sensei Dad and I have flown to Mumbai to meet Memsahib who is networking at a NASSCOM conference – with this many outsourcers in the building, it’s slave-trading 21st century style. I daren’t stand still too long before I’m up on the block having my teeth examined and being shipped off to a distant land never to see my family again – kind of like what I decided to do anyway.

We all manage to escape the post conference drinks, leaving one of Memsahib’s juniors to nurse his two drink hangover from the previous night and head off to a seaside restaurant which Memsahib has been insisting is one of the best in the city. When we get there, we are lead to our table on the beachfront and sit down to discover that the lighting is, shall we say, less than adequate.

Obviously there’s nothing for it but to wind up Memsahib like a clock work toy. Sensei Dad and I sit there making repeated facetious attempts to read the menu by the light of the single table candle and exclaiming about being able to see our food by the landing lights of the planes flying overhead (we are under the flight path to Mumbai airport). Eventually Memsahib deals with us soundly through a few sound cuffs to the head and we settle down and behave.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meet the parent – Memsahib strikes back

After our visit to my family, it was her turn to flip it onto the home turf by bringing her father over for a lengthy visit.

A man of ancient wisdom who combines the skills of Bruce Lee with the calm presence and dress sense of Chuck Norris but sadly lacks the taciturnity of either.

His karate belt does more than just hold up his trousers.