Category Archives: India

Our Luxurious Last Night in Mumbai

OMG, did I tell you about our last night in India? No, I didn’t!

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have already seen some of these pics.

But if not, here’s what happened:

On our last day in Mumbai, we returned from lunch down at the restaurant to find people milling about outside our room – nothing unusual there really, it happened a lot at this hotel. But this time, we went inside and hubs got a call  from reception to say that they needed our rooms for an expo they had booked and would we mind being moved upstairs fourteen floors to a suite for the night. Those people outside were waiting for us to vacate.

We had to pack for our trip home anyway, so a bit of motivation was good. We said that we’d be ready in two hours.

We got up to our suite and were incredibly impressed. Holy shit! If we had been staying here for the seven weeks in Mumbai, things would have been much happier! If you recall, we had been living in adjoining hotel rooms like this.

Here are some photos of the suite. They don’t really do the space justice, it was amazing.

Living area with dining area in the background

 

Living area from other angle, looking through into the bedroom.

I could totally live here! But wait! That’s not all…

Dining room with bar leading through to a utility room with sink and a servant's entrance. Door to the left leads to the adjoining apartment where the kids slept. Love the black chandeliers!

 

Office alcove with shit loads of storage.

 

The bathroom.

You walk out of the bathroom into this mirrored corridor with two basins. Down the corridor is a toilet and a shower room. This is all behind the bedroom, through the walk-through wardrobe. Like a wet, marble Narnia.

 

The rather large bedroom

 

Gorgeous view of Powai lake and misty hills.

 

And then just in case you'd forgotten where you were, a view out of the wardrobe window of the slums below. Feeling all rich, white and disgusting in my presidential suite now.

The funny thing is though, because the huge bedroom was at one end of the giant suite and the kids beds were in the adjoining room at the opposite end of the suite – I did not feel comfortable sleeping so far away from them when we’d been pretty much co-sleeping for so long. So, I slept in Xanthe’s bed in the apartment which was exactly like the one fourteen floors below that they’d been sleeping in for the last seven weeks.

I didn’t even use that luxurious bath. *sigh* Oh well. It was a nice finish to our time in India anyway.

 

Where the Hell IS Everything?!

The three storage boxes we stored a whole bunch of useless crap in.

When we were told we were relocating to India for six months, we thought that four weeks was plenty of time to pack. We were renting so, it made sense to end our tenancy, put our stuff in storage and rent a different house on our return, therefore saving a shitload of money and making the whole India experience worth it.

But,  four weeks was not enough time to pack – especially with Christmas and new year right smack damn there in it all.  We started packing early and packed things that we weren’t going to need for the last four weeks of our lives in Melbourne.  Then, as it got closer to our departure date, we noticed we were running out of room in our storage boxes, so some things needed to be sacrificed to the kerbside, or Vinnies, or the dump.

I think the last few days of packing were panicked. They must have been because upon our return, we have opened our storage containers to find boxes of miscellaneous crap that we don’t really need.  Yet the contents of my kitchen seem to have disappeared.

A toaster or a set of pots or the damn slow cooker I have been dreaming of cooking yummy winter meals in,  would have been much more useful than a box of fabric scraps in Christmas prints right about now. Also, my psychology text books from the degree I will never finish, are about as useful as boobs on the proverbial man-cow.

However, a flick through those psychology texts has me wondering if an undiagnosed dissociative disorder is the cause. Perhaps I have an alter called Jan, who really wanted some new swanky kitchenware, so after I (Toushka) carefully packed each casserole dish and lasagne pan and other pyrex and ceramic loveliness into bubble-wrap and into a large plastic box, along with my slow cooker thinking I would see them again come July, maybe Jan handed that box to my husband and said – “this is rubbish, go get rid of it”. Jan knew full well that we would have to go and buy pretty new stuff when we got back. Damn you Jan!! You inconvenient bitch. You did not think this through!

If only Jan had ordered some lovely replacement things online and had them delivered, then I wouldn’t be so mad at her. The truth is though, I have no idea what happened to an entire box of very useful kitchen items, a baby safety gate, two printers and half a dozen other things that just don’t seem to be anywhere.

Where is it all? What were we thinking? Has this happened to you?

Cheek Pinching

Image from http://shop.cafepress.com/pinch-cheeks

Probably my pet hate about India – apart from the smelly, polluted water and the rubbish piled on the streets – is the children as public property attitude.

It is the exact opposite in my culture where it is not OK to touch someone else’s child – especially a stranger’s. It is not OK to photograph someone else’s child and it is not OK to talk to the child and joke about taking them away from their parents. Not only is that not OK in my culture, it is fucking scary talk.

So anyway. A story to illustrate the strangeness of cheek pinching:

We decide to have lunch at TGIFs and got a booth table. We sat the children on the inside and my husband and I sat on the outer seats.

As we were eating I noticed a young woman walk past our table a couple of times and look at Xanthe. That’s normal. That’s ok.

She then walked up to our table and reached over my husband to pinch Xanthe’s cheek, spilling his drink in the process. Shocked, she pulled her arm back, mumbled an apology and then reached over to pinch Xanthe’s cheek again! Which is when I yelled “don’t touch her!”

Seriously. WTF?

Appropriate behaviour where children is concerned aside, you spill someone’s drink, you apologise and buy him another one. Again, cultural differences and social norms blah blah.

She looked rather offended that I told her not to touch my daughter and just stood there looking at me, I said again “do NOT touch my child; go away”.

She went away and then walked past the table another two times to look at Xanthe.

When we were leaving the restaurant, the woman was outside and she pulled her mobile phone out of her bag to photograph Xanthe as we left.

I understand that when in another country, one must be sensitive to the cultures of that country. Usually we are. We ignore the staring, we smile and nod and answer endless personal questions. We pose for photos and allow the kids to be pinched and patted. – Except for Millar because he really hates it.

But the above situation is where my cultural sensitivity gets thrown out the window.

I just don’t get it.

I understand that cheek pinching is a sign of affection and I can understand showing affection to the children of people you know. But random strangers that pass by on the street? Strangers sitting eating in a restaurant? Why?

Really annoying.

We have had some people ask us nicely before photographing the kids. That is appreciated and we allow it gladly, because they asked first.

But seriously. I can not get out of here fast enough.

This time tomorrow, we will be boarding the plane out of here.

Goodbye India, I’m taking my kids’ pinchable cheeks with me.

Things I Know

I was going to write a “things I know I’ll miss about India”, because there are some things I like about being here and I have whinged about India an awful lot on this blog and I wanted to be positive… but here’s the thing:

The things I will miss about India tend to be more related to the 5 star hotel than the India-ness of anything. Like a billion thread-count sheets on king size beds, breakfast buffets and on-call housekeeping.

So I know India is not for me. I know that in a previous life with no kids and a backpack, I would have found a different India. But that was not to be. I came here with two kids and my husband working ridiculous shifts – seriously ridiculous, and this was not a holiday. Everytime we go out we get stared at and the kids are likely to get their cheeks pinched – sometimes painfully. People will come up and talk to the kids. One time four men approached my son who was walking slowly behind us. They asked his name and touched his face. This would be seen as highly inappropriate behaviour where I come from. Highly inappropriate,  suspicious and a little scary.

I know that us in the Western world may be a little uptight, overly cautious and very PC and maybe we could learn to relax a little. But not too much!

So I know that I wanted to write something positive about India. But the thing I know the most is I will not miss India.

I may miss the nanny though. Patty is awesome.

 

Linking up with Singular Insanity for Things I Know