The other day I was reading my friend’s blog and she had an entry about the Indian 2011 census that you can read here.
I commented on her blog with my experience which pretty much fit her concern. The census people came last May to my old place in Bangalore, though I had to go down to the landlord’s apartment with his wife translating some of my answers for the guys. I started feeling things were weird when the guys started to wonder how on earth he would write down my full name in Kannada, and then wondered how to fit me in his form as I was a foreigner. He didn’t ask much questions to me, but asked a lot about my husband who was at work when they came. And then he asked me “Ma’am if you are married to an Indian, how come you aren’t Indian?” I was a bit taken aback to tell the truth, but I told him I am a PIO card holder that gives me all the rights of an Indian citizen minus the right to vote or buy agricultural land and he said “But ma’am you HAVE TO be Indian”. And why is that I might ask? Why do I HAVE TO? To count as somebody in this country? To face the type of discrimination people living in the North East face because they don’t LOOK the part despite having an Indian passport? In truth I wouldn’t mind Indian citizenship if it didn’t mean having to give up my Swiss one and start having to need visas to visit all the other foreign countries on the planet. But another part of me mind it very much as I can see from miles afar how some will just say I don’t look Indian and therefore cannot be Indian.
Yes as long as this country doesn’t straighten up their act I’m not sure I want to face more discrimination. Because let’s call a spade a spade as things are now I see a very racist tendency going around here, and it starts with the Government making foreigner and Indian separate entree fees to monument. An Indian origin US citizenship holder visiting the Taj Mahal will have no problem paying the Indian fee, but a resident from the North East will have to prove himself, just based on how they look. Me, forget it, I might work for an Indian salary, pay my taxes here, have a PIO card, a Pan card, residential permit, but I’m still a foreigner therefore I pay the overinflated foreigner fee when I visit historical monuments, because apparently my being Swiss gives the impression to people that I have by default a stinking amount of money and that it makes it ok to try to fleece me.
And then you have various silly contests, and for a few of them the term and conditions is that not only you have to be a resident of India (which is fair and logic) but have to be an INDIAN CITIZEN, the last one I saw stating that rule is the Facebook zoo zoo fan page one, guess what the Vodafone zoo zoo world is buzzing about in their new ad campaign, and you can win zoo zoo merchandise…but hey you have to have Indian Citizenship to win…not that I care about that contest or want to enter, but can I just say “Hello Discrimination”?
So since I am planning to get fit I decided to take out a book we bought a while back out of the bookshelf. I read it before, but it’s great and always good to refresh your knowledge.
The book is called “30 minutes a day to a healthy heart” it’s a Readers Digest book, and even though it is a UK publication about 90% of the tips in it is totally applicable in India due to the fact they are really easy, simple no brainer tips.
The verdict back then when we bought it was that I was doing a lot of things right, and it still applies.
Diet wise I have great foundations and even eat almost all of the “heart super foods” in the book, exercise wise I could do better though. What’s great about the book is that it helps you understand portion control, it’s not aimed at weight loss as such as the focus is HEALTHY and you get to shrink a few pants size as a bonus.
I thought I would list the heart super foods here, they all fall in there because they are potassium, magnesium and antioxidant rich which protects arteries and reduce LDL cholesterol (bad one):
Almonds, Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Berries (all of them), Broccoli, Carrots, Lean beef, Garlic, Kidney beans (rajma), Walnuts, Oats, Salmon, Spinach, Turkey, Tomatoes, Sweet potatoes and Watermelon.
Now as you can see most of them are easily available in India, though some are pricier than other. I hate spinach but I love methi (fenugreek) which I’m pretty sure have some of the same benefit, salmon and beef are the two toughest to find around here and I don’t eat them, but all…yes ALL of the others are food I eat all the time, in fact my good old Swiss muesli is oats in a bowl with almonds, freshly sliced banana and when in season strawberries all mixed together with curd, that’s 3 of the power foods in one single meal…not bad huh?
The book also mention that 6 cups (or 3 of my monster mug) of tea gives you all the antioxidants you need from it, but I read somewhere else that putting milk in your tea actually negates the benefit as it make the antioxidants less absorbable by the body…a good thing I like my tea black and without sugar I guess.
Cinnamon is also listed in the book, but not really as a heart power food, more like a insulin boosting spice, which is actually recommended when you have insulin resistance, I’ve been using cinnamon in my morning cereals and on some fruits for years, and you would not believe how hard it used to be to find the good powdered version around here, now I get it more easily but a few years back I had a stash I bought in Goa in a local market because nowhere in Bangalore did I find someone selling it.
Exercise wise as I said I can do better, but even then I’m not considered a lost cause at all, I already do as much walking as I can, try to be good and stand and walk or mildly exercise during commercial breaks on TV, take the stairs when possible, so there I’m already in the habit of getting off my butt whenever I can. Maybe I’m in need of a more intense form of exercise now. But you know what it feels actually good reading that I’m already doing a whole bunch for my health, it motivates me to even do better.
Oh by the way that’s one book I really recommend to get one started on being healthy, I swear it doesn’t come in a more simpler package than this one, it was actually good that DH kept getting these stupid “Congratulation you are finalist in the Reader’s Digest great prize lucky draw” . Because thanks to it we got some great reference books, this one just being one of many.
Since we moved in this building I’ve been going almost daily to the kiddie playground with Ishita, our building has a great one set all the way in the back away from traffic and the underground parking entrance and exit to keep the kiddos safe, and it’s also built in a sand pit to cushion possible falls from the swings and monkey bars. Ishi loves it of course, but not as much for the equipment there as she loves being around other kids, especially older more mobile kids, and she seem to have a preference for hanging out with the boys playing cricket, so much so I think we will have to get her a plastic bat to play because she is always after theirs and who cares if the bats are real wooden ones that are taller than she is, my little champ doesn’t seem to think that is a problem. She even manages to run pushing the bat in front of her between the wickets just like the big boys do. She is going to make her Papa’s day with her fixation on cricket gear that’s for sure.
And while the kiddie playground is good for Ishi it’s also great for me, gives me an excuse to be out of the house, and I get to meet all the other moms there and chat, and since it seems our building as a good number of toddlers this mean there are a lot of moms in the same situation as me, and in general the families I’ve seen so far are young and dynamic, which is good because i was dreading a building full of aunties, my old neighbourhood in Bangalore had a few, and I don’t need to face the “auntie inquisition” daily, call me crazy if you want but before we shifted to Mumbai the Auntie brigade was actually making me scared of going out in the afternoon for a walk with Ishita simply because I didn’t want to hear million questions about how I fed her, how she slept, what were her achievements so far only to have my answer being analysed all the time.
Our area has a lot of small parks around, I plan to take Ishita to them later, right now I’m just cooling down from all the stress, and with DH gone all this week I had enough just walking the dog twice a day with Ishi in my arms as there is no other dog walking space than the side of the main, very busy, road. My other goal is to hit the Gym in our building a couple of times a week, one of the mom I met at the kiddie playground has a daughter of Ishita’s age and is keen on going along with me while her full time maid can watch the girls, if all goes well we will start on Monday morning.
I’ve been slowly putting on weight since moving to India despite my making a point of eating healthy home cooked food with plenty of veggies and whole grains. The fact though is that there is very little I’m doing “wrong”, I have an unforgiving body to begin with, I am a PCOS sufferer, which is an hormonal imbalance condition which often goes hand in hand with Insulin resistance, so much so that I need to be very careful about the carb vs protein balance in my diet. I wish somehow I got diagnosed eons ago, but it’s just after my strongly pushing for it in 2007 that I finally got taken care of and put on metformin for it, I even went from 75kg to 70 at one point, but I also admit I have issue with boredom eating, even if my snacks are fruits and nuts, at the end of the day in huge amount they still make my weighting scale tip in the wrong direction, even with moderate exercise.
I’m also not helped much in the sense that Indian cooking, isn’t very Insulin resistant people friendly, ideally my protein intake should come more from lean meat and fish with a generous side dish of steamed or lightly sautéed veggies, and maybe only 1 chapatti or slice of bread on the side. But fish isn’t my thing, and meat is quite costly around here. Leaving me with lentils and paneer as protein sources, the problem is that lentils contain carbs and that if they are on my plate the other elements need to be reduced. Paneer isn’t my favourite and anyway should be eaten in moderation too because of the fat content. Mushrooms are another good protein source, so is soy, but mushrooms aren’t always available, and darn I admit I should cook with soy granules a bit more often.
Since moving back to Bangalore I have made a pact with myself to get back into shape, with little time left to exercise hardcore I want to start cooking less heavy fat loaded Indian cooking and go back to a mix of cuisine: Mediterranean, Steamed Chinese, Continental, and light Indian cuisine. Rice should be mostly off my diet, chapatti in moderation.
The positive is that I am already having healthy eating habits, I’m not much into fried stuff, potato chips and sweets really. So I’m not tempted to go for these.
I was 62kg when I first moved to India, I am now stuck at 75kg, granted that I had a child, and that hormones work differently with age, I think 65kg shouldn’t be a too difficult goal to reach right?
As promised, now that I no longer live in my old place I can tell you where it was.
I said Mumbai, but actually Navi Mumbai is more correct, this was actually a separate city at one point, but with Mumbai’s suburbs expanding so much there is telling where the Mumbai' suburbs end and where Navi Mumbai actually begins for a newcomers, so much that now Vashi, Nerul and the other towns in Navi Mumbai are just another suburb. A planned suburb with a structure and to an extent cleaner and better looking than other places in Mumbai. But it is BORING, it’s mostly a succession of apartment buildings, a few shops and market and one big shopping mall (Inorbit). You absolutely need a car to live there, especially if you don’t know how the bus system works or don’t want to be fleeced by auto drivers.
In the matter of public parks there isn’t much, and unless you give in a good apartment society you won’t get much entertainment.
That brings me to the exact location of my apartment there: Seawood Estate aka NRI complex…Phase II. And the phase 2 part is crucial, as it seems that phase one has rules and structure and has a furnished clubhouse and a few odd green spaces. Phase 2 has 3 building blocks, the first two ones are fully occupied and have been apparently handed over to a temporary society committee, ours was the third building and was still CIDCO’s property (CIDCO is a government agency in charge of city development). And as I mentioned in many previous entries things were hell, the building hasn’t yet reached full occupancy and the plumbing is falling apart due to the use of cheap building material, the walls inside the apartments are cracking due to use of substandard wall putty, the clubhouse is not yet furnished or having half of the amenities they are bragging about due to the fact that CIDCO collected the money from owners but didn’t do anything, so unless you play tennis or like to swim there is nothing else, there was a huge grass field in the middle that should become a park, but again at the moment it’s just wild grass with half a foot path built in one corner, no kiddie playground, kids are forced to play on the parking lot and be mindful of the cars going in and out.
And the scariest part is that any apartment going for sale in this society has a price tag of over one crore rupees, so not worth it if you ask me considering that all 3 buildings in phase two are rotting and crumbling away, with a penthouse’s ceiling coming crashing down during the monsoon in one of the two fully occupied buildings. And you can’t even say it is a safe society as the security guards appointed by CIDCO just let anybody come in and out without making them sign any log book or warning the people via the intercom system. There are a lot of cab drivers that used to come in every freaking morning to use the water in our complex for free, leaving monster puddles all over which made it into perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. At one point DH even found 2 odd guys sleeping in our ground floor lobby, my neighbour even questioned then and they said they were CIDCO guards (not in uniform) and literally ran away. CIDCO also decided that it was no big deal if half the hallway lamps were not working, posing a serious security issue, if we wanted ours to work, the electrician bluntly told us to pay for it, CIDCO said it was not their problem. At one point there was a sign down that said all private workers had to vacate by 6pm but no one checked and some one removed the sign meaning that we had to bear with hammering, drilling, and cutting of marble at any time of day and night, not to mention having workers roam the building at will. There’s been al the stuff that fell on my terrace, our parking spot being used by another owner to dump the construction rubbish, my neighbour’s car being all scratched on purpose probably for not being on the right parking space, her personal door light bulb being stolen, the external door latch of my door being locked from someone efficiently locking me INSIDE my own home, the mold everywhere, water seepage inside almost every walls, tiles coming off the terraces…you name it it probably happened in that piece of crap of a building. My only logical conclusion is that it is a government plot to rip off “nouveau riche” people, though of course a significant amount of flat owner in this society might actually have one or possibly two feet dipping in black money. In our building there was a guy (they guy who’s worker’s poured acid and paint on my terrace) who was known by all the guards to be a badass goon, complete with two guns strapped to his belt, who probably spent another crore just redoing the inside of his apartment.
Phase one is as I said better, though apartments are small, but at least there is a sense of unity, with owners not being allowed to just do whatever they want with the external or internal walls unless they got permission.
All in all, happy to be gone indeed.
Have you ever bought a 5000 pieces jigsaw puzzle and being exited to start with it, set the dinning table to accommodate it, only to open the box and say “Wow that’s a lot of pieces!” and then wonder where to exactly begin and feeling like it will never all come together and reveal the pretty picture on the lid of the box?
If you are a jigsaw puzzle fan, you have been to that place for sure. And it seems that unpacking in a new place is just like a 5000 (or possibly bigger) pieces jigsaw puzzle, at first you have tons of odds and end that you are wondering what to do with, you then tackle the big furniture and shelves the way you would sort the border pieces from the middle pieces in a jigsaw, and then slowly but surely things come to together, one tea cup, one book at a time, the mess disappear, the pile of random items shrink and before you know it you have a cosy pretty place to call home.
DH and I started unpacking on the 11th in the afternoon when the packers and movers finally made it to our place, they helped unpack a lot of things, though it was just to take some of their boxes and rubbish away with them, but throwing our clothes and kitchen stuff just about anywhere without much sense to it all, by 5-6pm they were gone, and the house looked like it’s been hit by a tornado, I was still arranging stuff in my kitchen when they were throwing clothes in the wardrobes and they ended up leaving half of the boxes of books untouched.
On the 12th we continued tackling the mess together and by about 5-6pm I couldn’t believe we were done already, even with my having to assemble Ishita’s bed and coffee table.
In the end the only thing that got slightly damaged was the fridge’s front leg, I replaced it with a steel bowl and we were all set.
The internet guy came on Sunday afternoon to set things up, and the only thing I have to complain about is that he didn’t seem to want to set the wireless router, and with our desktop being broken I would appreciate having my laptop not being tied to a cable, I need to be mobile around the house with a toddler. I tried to set it up this morning, but couldn’t figure it out, and DH is on another business trip already, I’ll try again tonight once my brain all comes together and Ishi is sleeping.
Right now I’m still waiting for the Tata Sky people to set my dish so I can watch some TV, and the building’s handyman said he would drop by today to put fibre glass in front of the balconies railing to prevent Ishi to climb these as well as doing a few odd fixes here and there.
It feels good to be back in Bangalore already.
So the packers and movers came on the 8th and efficiently packed our stuff away, we hit the road on the 9th and stopped for the night in Kolhapur, then did the final stretch to Bangalore on the 10th. I wished moving in our new place would have been simpler though, but it seems our landlord who we never met as he doesn’t even live in Bangalore, decided that we aren’t allowed inside the flat until we pay the full deposit amount…CASH.
The issue for us being that we had only a chunk of that amount in cash, and the other in the form of a cheque given to us by the Mumbai landlady with the express instruction not to cash it until the 12th (she even post dated it so we can’t try doing it earlier), New landlord refuse to acknowledge this and that had us waiting in the car while DH tried madly to arrange for the money and in the end strike a deal with the landlord about paying half the amount on the day itself and arranging for the other half on the 11th. The irony is that if this guy will probably not get the amount in full until the 13th since the broker is the one having to deposit the money, and that if he deigned waiting he would have gotten the money from us via bank transfer on the 15th or 16th…his reasoning as explained to DH for being such a jerk is “I can’t trust Indians since I moved back to India so I need the full deposit now”
Never mind we paid half rent in January, are paying full rent in February, that at no point since December 30th did he even contacted us or seemed to worry about our being genuine or honest, or even contacted us or gave his contact info to us to hammer in details, nope he waited the last minute to strand a family who travelled 1000+ kilometre in 2 days with a toddler and a dog!
Anyway I’m typing from my empty new flat, waiting for the packers and movers, I have a few entries in mind, will take time to write them or publish them as I’m not sure how long internet will take, and DH will be travelling with the Reliance data card all next week.
The exact date of our big move (the sequel) is finally set, the packers and movers will come storm our place on the 8th, and us the 2 and 4 legged beings will hit the road on the 9th to finally reach Bangalore on the 10th.
I can finally put my war plan to use and between Saturday and Sunday we tackled the massive to do lists I drafted and we have already made a nice dent in it. Today was mostly cleaning though.
I woke up early as usual, squeezed an hour of internet to send a few emails, then tackled the number one task of the day, it being cleaning our oriental carpet out of the dust, dog hair juice and dahi spills that are inevitable when you have a pet and a toddler. So I dragged the thing to the terrace taking advantage of the fact it was Sunday and no workers would be spilling cement, or other more creepy things like acid on my to pour half a bottle of wool mild detergent on the thing, wet it and rub it nicely to get all the biggest stains removed, then rinsed it nicely using the bathroom wiper blade to push the dirty water out of the carpet. I’ve washed the carpet myself quite a couple of times already so I really am starting to master it, though I admit it the next wash has to be a professional one as I simply can’t get it quite as clean as they do, but then I just didn’t want to get that thing all dusty and dirty in my new apartment so I tackled the monster myself.
With the carpet cleaning behind me by 10 and the promise of a nice warm sun to dry it I got inside to munch on a lovely breakfast of Kachore and Jalebi courtesy of DH who drove to our favourite chaat corner to get them fresh and we both started getting the enormous suitcases out of the storage room to fill them with some of our clothes preventing the packers and movers to just pile up everything without logic on the 8th and saving us a headache on the 11th or 12th when we will unpack the thing and will have to figure out which sweater belongs to who and why half of the kurti are so wrinkled they need a wash.
All that while I kept doing loads of laundry after loads getting all the bed sheets that were in the hamper cleaned, did half of the curtains, which were still surprisingly gross according to the colour of the water coming out of the washing machine, the price to pay for living in a very dusty place.
I even remembered to write a couple of weeks back “Empty entry door closet” on my list, and told DH we needed to get that done together and one of us would have to go in the storage compartment to lift the boxes out…my sweeter half being a bit of a chicken when it comes to dark damp, concrete bunker like closet space with wires stapled on the wall let me the honour to jump in (sweet isn’t it?). Now quite obviously the door to that “closet” stand about 4 feet of the ground, and you need to climb on the ledge and jump on the other side because the ground is 4 ft lower there as well. I’m arachnophobe, and I was really praying not to see any big spider, while DH standing in front of the door said “I hope there is no snake that found it’s way in there” I told him considering it was a damp, cold and extremely dark space it was very unlikely I would come face to face with a reptile in there. Fortunately I got all the boxes out, and there was no snake and no spider…wew, I climbed back into the living room realising that we aren’t 20 anymore and that hoping on the door frame 4ft above the ground is not as easy as it would have been a decade ago.
I finally decided to put an end to the craziness by doing the last batch of laundry…clothes at 5.30pm, then reviewing my war plan adding “clean fridge” to it after remembering how gross it smelled after they unpacked it last July when we reached Mumbai, I almost forgot that one but DH spilled milk in it so now the stinking fridge crisis has been averted.
It’s 9.30, my legs are hurting, I have boxes, bags, books and toys everywhere, we have more to do tomorrow, I’m exhausted but happy to get packing and be done with that place.
It’s a long car trip, you desperately need to attend nature’s call but can’t because there is a lack of public toilets (or bushes) so you hold it, to the point of utter discomfort, maybe for a couple of hours and then Oh! Miracle relief is in sight, you rush as fast as you can to the bathroom, only to find that all but one toilet is in working order and that there is somebody in it forcing you to wait. And it never fails, that last little bit of waiting is the most agonizing of all, those petty little minutes seems an eternity, 5 minutes of agony that seems about 10-20 a million time worse than the 2-3 hours wait in your car…Sounds familiar? No? Come on we’ve all been there, you know aching to make that home run, the final stretch to deliverance…yes you know what I’m talking about.
I chose the toilet as an example, but there are many other agonizing aching wait to relief, to change, to getting moving.
And right now with or very real very pending move next week I just feel like we all did at least once waiting behind a bathroom door about ready to burst.
It doesn’t matter how bad things were the past 6 months, and how much I hate the place we are currently living in, it seems that right now it’s even worse, though I admit this is how I feel, because in all truth things are occurring pretty much the same as they have so far.
This past week is feeling even more horrible, I guess my patience is reaching its end, and my level of tolerance went down considerably.
DH travelled for 2 days, our internet connection package expired and we are not going to renew it just for a week so we are made to do with the little Reliance data card connection, which is fine, but then each time DH goes on a business trip it is gone with him. Fortunately he is done travelling now as we are going to get busy shifting.
The cement and garbage keeps falling on my terrace, the place is a boring mess, nothing new. Though yesterday was a very bad day for me, we experienced our first lengthy power cut since moving to Mumbai, it started Thursday at 11pm when the light went off for 4 hours, during which we started feeling hot in the bedroom, mosquitoes attacking us, Ishi feeling restless in her sleep, me not finding much sleep between scratching my legs and applying odomos on both of us and comforting Ishita. When the light came back at 3am something I was dead and crashed but Ishi decided to wake up at 6am riding me like a horse, and there I was up with maybe just a total of 4-5 hours of broken sleep, little did I knew things were about to get more annoying…Ishita and I go through our morning routine, breakfast, diaper, play, and TV watching when suddenly at 10.30am BAM the electricity got cut again! No shower, no fan nothing, I got a box of stuff packed, but when Ishi’s nap came she was cranky and didn’t go down easy as the bedroom was already hot. she collapsed of sheer exhaustion at 1.30pm and I cleared a few things away, and finally crashed myself for an hour before the inevitable occurred, Ishi felt too hot, was soaked in sweat and cranky so she woke up, it was almost 4 and there was still no electricity, so I decided to turn on the water pipe so she could get some freshness on the terrace, while could take advantage of cleaning it (yet again!) but about 10 minutes in it the water stopped coming, the power cut made it impossible for the water pump to get the water from the ground tank to the overhead tank which apparently became empty…oh Joy!
The power came back at 5.30pm, turned out it was because a transformer burnt then night before and they needed to fix it. These things happen no big deal, it was just the timing that made it worse for me. To top it the water tank took another 2 hours to refill and I wanted to get some laundry done on Friday and had to do it at night. DH got stuck on the road back from Pune and instead of coming back at 8pm he came back at 11.30. And you would think that after having had a bad night and barely 6 hours of sleep I would have crashed down but I was so keyed up that it actually too time to come, even with a beer in the system
I reached my final stretch, the stretch that makes an insignificantly tiny amount of time make you feel like an eternity, yes I’m behind that bathroom door twisted like a pretzel not to burst and cursing whoever for not being on the other side of the door already…there I said it!
We are going to shift by February 10th at the latest, though the exact date for the packers and movers to come isn’t yet set, but today it suddenly felt a little more real as I had the guy from Agarwal Packers & Movers come to draft the estimate. We already had them shift us from Bangalore to Mumbai and were very satisfied with them so we know what to expect. I think we will know the amount it will cost us by the end of the day as the guy asked my to write down DH’s email on the form for him, In Bangalore the guy took a lot of time inside my apartment to calculate everything and game me the estimate right away though.
I already packed quite a few boxes of books on my own and a box of kitchen stuff I don’t use much, that way I feel like I’m doing something, plus from all of our shifting experience (This will be relocation number 6 for us in the past 7 years) we know that the unpleasant part is actually the unpacking and finding that a box labelled with something contain a few stray items that should have been in another, and that if you let these people pack all the books together, you end up spending hours sorting out the books that belong to the bookshelf and the one that need to go into “forget about them” storage which in our case means all of DH’s college stuff, this time I’m outsmarting the packers and movers by packing the “Forget about it storage” books, though of course I know I will still spend days in our new apartment trying to figure out how to organize things.
I also drafted a much more organized war plan this time, with several different lists all written in a spiral notebook not to loose anything, added a page of phone numbers we will need at the last minute both in Mumbai and in Bangalore, such as the numbers of the milkman and newspaper guy in Mumbai to cancel our subscriptions and the number of our favourite take out restaurant so we can eat a nice lunch on D-day. And phone numbers like the gas cylinder dealer in Bangalore and the Aquaguard service center to hook up our water purifier soon after we arrive.
From the last shift in July we already know that packing our hot plate and a small pan for tea was a good idea, but this time I am adding plates and spoons to list as well, because even if this time we will have a less extended Urban camping experience with us taking the road back to B’lore rather than a plane there is still the possibility we might arrive a day before the movers do, and even with a food court 5 minutes away from our new place we might need plates anyway.
We also found out packing our Swiss army knives with us the last time was the best thing to have ever done so we will be doing that again.
Yes we are ready to move, I’m practically counting the days and hours until we leave this place.
In a worry not to make a too long entry (yes I am guilty of lengthy writing as you must have noticed) I did bypass sharing dinner facts that aren’t party related.
DH and I tend to show our cultural differences a lot in our food habit than we do otherwise.
While we tend to be on a middle ground for breakfast or lunch (though thanks to long Mumbai commute breakfast together is something we do only on weekends now), dinner has always been the odd one and we don’t really see eye to eye on that one.
As I mentioned in my previous entry Indians generally have dinner quite late in the evening, and not just when you have guests to entertain, DH find it odd to eat before 9pm and regularly eats at 10pm right before bedtime.
While in Switzerland (and it is very important to make this distinction as there are other European countries that do very differently) dinner is the meal you eat right after coming back home from work, generally around 6.30-7pm. Switzerland also being having a mix of French and German influence, you have the more French way of eating a cooked meal, or the very German “Abendsbrot” which translates as “Evening bread” Abendsbrot in Switzerland is basically a cheese platter and lunch meat (ham, salami…) put in the middle of the table along with a loaf of bread (generally whole grain) and people help themselves of what they want and eat. As my family puts it, this type of meal is meant to be richer in protein than in carbs because sleep time means regeneration time for the body and proteins are the building block of muscles so it makes sense to give your body more building block at night when it needs it while keeping the carbs which are energy food on the lower side while you sleep.
Anyway I grew up on Abendsbrot, and my family always ate it around 6.30pm, then after the meal it was herbal or fruit infusion time, as my grand ma used to say, warm fluids help the fat in cheese get digested better, not to mention something warm in the evening slowly eases you into sleep mode. Once the whole meal is over, people generally watch a little TV, or read, or engage into relaxing activities such as playing games, doing jigsaw puzzles and are in bed at around 10.30 –11pm with most of the meal digestion having occurred while winding down in the post meal phase. One of my grand ma though always asked during the holidays if we were a bit hungry right before bedtime and if yes would just lead us to the kitchen and give us a few snack option: a fruit, a glass of chocolate milk, or a fruit yogurt.
And now even as a grown up, and after 7.5 years living in India I just have a lot of difficulties eating dinner late, I do it on occasion of course, but if I eat too heavy at night and too close to my bedtime I tend to sleep awful. DH doesn’t seem to be affected, which is probably because he is used to eat late, but for the life of me I can’t. For me dinner has to be done and over with before 8pm and I admit that now with DH’s longer commute he is rarely there and I start without him. We also don’t eat the same, I tend to eat more continental in the evening, and even stashed my freezer with a few non-veg options. having grown being used to a high protein dinner I prefer that option even now, plus having insulin resistance I don’t want to load my system with carbohydrate during my less active phase of the day. So while DH’s dinner is the typical vegetable/rice/dal/chapati/dahi, mine is more around the line of : cheese with a slice of bread and a fruit yogurt downed with a fruit infusion if I’m in for a more Swiss meal. Or something like 4-5 chicken nuggets (which I bake rather than fry) with a vegetable soup and a slice of bread, or even just a big salad in which I sometimes add grilled chicken or crab sticks accompanied by some yogurt and herbal tea again.
In fact if you want to really put a name on what my dinner would be here in India, this would be the typical tea time snack, I eat it around the same time, and while mine is not namkeen and samosa, the difference being that for me that meal is my final meal of the day.