T'was a Happy Christmas

11:59 AM

Christmas came and went, like it does every year. And like most years it was a happy one, full of cheers, food, merriment and more food. It never fails to bring a smile to my face when I hear Ishita screaming "Santa came!!!!!" in the wee hours of the morning. And from my state of sleepiness and start element at having been awaken with a a squeal, my "Oh really?" sounds even more credible.

This year, she wanted a rocking horse, and Santa has truly worked some amazing magic (don't you dare saying he doesn't exist). For weeks I looked online in hope of finding one big enough for a 5 years old, in vain. The only ones that would do were imported from the US and came with ridonkulously high price tag. I kid you not I was working ways to tell Ishita that Santa might not be able to bring one because he only make them for small babies and not big girl. This lead to her pointing out that one of our friend has a red plastic rocker for big kids. Alas, from IKEA, and impossible to find in India.
And when I was about to just persuade her to make a wish list for Santa to choose from, one of my friend posted a picture of her own IKEA rocking toy on Facebook, selling it at the very reasonable price of 500 rupees! Needless to say I went for it, brought it home in a covert operation, hid it in a Bathroom and waited to see Ishita's face on Christmas.

A day later, she is still pretty much glued to it, rocking away and loving it.

Christmas themed doughnuts from Krispy Kreme

But that is not all that we did on that day. Christmas is my family is not just about the kids, never has been. In the West, this is family and friends time, and celebrating togetherness. And for us, so it was. I took Ishita out in the morning to Krispy Kreme to buy a box of doughnuts while DH slept the morning away. Simply because I saw during the week that they conveniently came up with holiday themed ones and I wanted to enjoy the day without overworking myself in the kitchen. This was the best move, and we might as well make it a tradition from now on. The short auto ride on a pleasantly cool Mumbai Winter morning was enough to make us in the festive move. Bitting into oven Fresh Santa shaped doughnuts with a steaming cup of tea just about drove the point home.

And of course we exchanged gifts just before breakfast. Ishita got a cute outfit from us, DH got a Spider-Man notebook from Ishita, and a Godfather special edition set from me. While I got a purse from DH.
Then we prepared for our evening dinner, buying chicken, drinks and snacks as we had guests, and I made some Bourbon Chicken this year (except with rum as we had no bourbon around...works great regardless). I caught up with my family on Skype and then we spent the whole evening in good company before calling it a day at 11.30pm

On this Boxing Day, I am just relaxing, and subsiding on leftovers. And this weekend we have some family coming over for a few days. Don't expect too much Blogging from my part until the New Year. I make a point of relaxing as much as Incan during the Winter break.

So once again, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. And for all those not following me on social medias, a belated Merry Christmas.

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  1. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Merry Christmas. It 2 degrees in Delhi with thick fog. The house feels like a giant freezer.

    The latest joke on winter is that the greatest act of charity in this season is to leave half a bucket of hot water for someone and if somebody poured cold water on someone it will be considered as a terrorist activity lol.


    1. Ugh, had the displeasure of experiencing having to take a bath in North India during the winter, this is sheer torture. Especially in bathrooms that have no wet and dry separated area, because getting dressed outside the bathroom is plain old nasty, but putting pants on inside means they get wet and then feel cold on your skin once you step out, there is really no winning in such old style bathrooms :-)

    2. Anonymous9:28 PM

      It is 2.6 degrees which is the coldest temperature for the past five years in Delhi. I have come to understand that many foreigners actually under estimate indian winters just because it does not snow and then realise that indian houses without centralised heating makes winters more harsh. Bucket baths with or without hot water is a formidable challenge.

      BTw what was your experience with the infamous indian toilet . It is a challenge most foreigners face. Ever since I started reading these blogs I have started looking at both the bucket and toilet with great respect. They are both like culture icons.


    3. I knew the Indian loo long long loooooooong before coming to India, they exist in Switzerland in public bathroom that are on the side of the highway or in crowded areas where it is not possible to clean up regularly, we call them Turkish toilets for some reason. Then I travelled all around the world and I saw them in many places.

      I think the Indian bathroom is sadly not very safe for kids and elder people. My in laws got rid of the squat down toilet years ago, because my MIL can't use them anymore suffering from a cute arthritis, a few years back she also slipped on the wet floor of the bathroom and fell, thankfully she did not break anything, but it could have been far worse than a bruise. Sadly they can't renovate the bathroom as they have only one in the main house and shutting it down means my MIl can't use the upstair one because she can't climb those steep stairs. Hopefully nothing will happen.
      I myself don't use the bucket in my bathroom, I take a 2-3 minutes shower and it uses way less water than filling a bucket, but that is because I discipline myself not to linger in the shower :-)
      Showers are the most common thing in Switzerland, despite what people might think, we don't use bathtubs as much, most apparetement a are too small to have a big bathroom.
      Central heating is also HEAVILY regulated in Switzerland, and with a vast majority of people renting their apartment, it means we are dependent of laws and management to get any, first it can't be on before November...at all. and it goes off in March, then the thermostat on the central furnace means you can't crank it past 18-20 degrees in homes. We are massively big on energy saving. Private home owners can have heating outside these designated months, but then they have to pay for their fuel themselves and not necessarily get good rates, so the heating is use very sparingly in independent houses. Then there are also the fact that the Governement has put in place building rules, you can't build a building without following the energy and safety norms, which means that no building is allowed to have non standard, dual pane and rubber seal windows, to prevent heat loss and temperature transfer.

      One thing I keep wondering is why AC units sold in India come without the heating feature, all this big brands have the heater feature when sold abroad, but it is not there in India, Delhi has the most extreme climate, and a good AC unit could do double duty and help heat a room in the Winter as well, most of these AC units are more energy wise than those tiny power gizzling space heaters that do very little for any room.

    4. Anonymous9:53 AM

      I have read somewhere that Italy and France does have squat toilets. It is more common in Europe I guess. Squatting is also a natural posture compared to sitting which puts unnatural pressure on the pelvic muscles. However, it is definitely hard on old people.

      These days we use the piped gas to heat water, which is economical compared to something like an immersion rod. The quality of water has improved in our society with the installation of RO plant. But the pipes have been damaged by the salty water. If we have to install a geyser, we may have to change all the pipes, which is an expense in itself.

      About ACs, I think nobody thought about using it for heating. People may not even know that there is a heating provision. I think and I may be wrong, ACs use the same technology which refrigerators use that is why probably they could work around the problem of providing cool air with less energy consumption. Earlier, only very rich people could afford ACs. Hot air would mean something has to burn inside, a filament or something which would consumer more power. I am not a technical expert but producing heat perhaps consumes more electricity. As it is, the per unit charge is high. It is Rs.7/- per unit in our colony. Electric bill in summer is a killer. We are happy that in winters the electricity consumption is less. The money saved could be used as a buffer against income tax cuts/higher electricity bills in summers. Usually, the income tax is charged between November and December which is god's mercy. It is not a pleasant experience when Government decides to cut taxes believing that you will somehow survive.

      In many towns in India, power cut in the morning till afternoon is inevitable. Nobody complaints because it is the norm. It is a small town ritual. In big cities, no power means no water because the bore well which draws water from earth won't work. Many colonies don't have regular supply and where there is supply it is inadequate. India is power deficient and needs massive investment in power plants. People do all kinds of unimaginable things so that they have a steady supply of water and electricity. If you get water and electricity in India, consider yourself lucky.


    5. I think Voltas is now doing a AC unit that has a heating feature in India, but that said heat produced from electricity is costly, in Switzerland people tend to avoid it, most building have Gas heaters, and we pay for it year round as part of the maintenance charge in our rents, in the Summer it just really boils water for the hot water system. In Winter the water in the central heating network gets heated that way too, as most houses have water filled metal radiator, floor heating is something that really became popular in the 90's and very few apartment buildings were built past the 80's
      Old houses still have petrol powered furnaces, my grand Ma used to have them refil all the tanks in her basement in the fall to be ready for the winter, but they also used heating super sparingly as the petrol cost got higher. Like in every houses and building, her furnace powered the hot water delivery system as well during the rest of the year.
      When I lived in Chennai, rare were the apartment building that had more than 4-5 hours a day of water supply. We ended up living in a bungalow, but we were still getting Governement supply on and off, the landlady had a secondary tank for bore well water and had the truck come and fill it a couple of times a months. Needless to say the water wasn't clean at all. We both ended up with skin and scalp rashes and itch while living there.


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