Sleepless in Bombay

18 Oct

Jet lag is a bitch.  I was really stubborn and thought that if I fought her by not letting myself sleep during the day, I would sleep at night.  Wrong.  I went to bed at 2 a.m. Friday morning and set my alarm for 10.  Wishful thinking.  I was wide awake at 6.  I read a book, hoping I would get tired.  That didn’t work.  I listened to my ipod, trying to drown out the traffic noise–the motorbikes, the buses, and the never-ending honking.  I forced myself to lay there, and then around 9, I gave up.

Friday, after a walk around the housing complex, I called it a night.  It was 6 p.m.  I read a book and fell asleep with it on my chest.  I woke up at 7:15, popped a Tylenol PM, and surrendered to sleep.  At midnight, I woke up ravenous.  Fortunately, Shama and Shilpa accompanied me to the grocery store on Thursday.  The store was no bigger than the size of a 7-Eleven and was chock-a-block (that’s for you, Cindy!) with Indian and imported goods.  We began with the cereal, and when I discovered that my favorite from back home, which I normally paid $3 a box for, was $8, I put it right back on the shelf.  I opted for the Indian brand.  When in Rome… By the time I left the store, I had three grocery bags, filled with dal, chickpeas, rice, fresh veggies, and the must-have Indian spices–turmeric, cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds.

Before I could finish paying, a young man from the store had taken my bags and was waiting outside to put them in the car for me.  This was the first of many times yesterday that I felt completely useless.  He loaded them into the trunk of the family car, we hopped in, and rode back to the house, where the driver brought all of our bags to the foot of the stairs.  When I lived in D.C., I would carry 8-10 bags of groceries on my arms for blocks, until I bought a little cart and began grocery shopping in the suburbs.  Here, I didn’t even have to bring my three bags to the front door.

Within an hour of returning to my flat, Shama and Suhas summoned me downstairs for lunch.  While I ate, the first maid arrived at my flat to dust and clean the bathroom.  Yes, the first maid.  The second maid, who cleans the floors, came by at 5.  I felt completely spoiled, although I will never complain about someone dusting for me, as I absolutely abhor that chore.  I felt awkward being around while the maids were, something I know I’ll have to get over eventually, so I went for a walk around the housing complex.  The great thing about living in Deonar, a neighborhood in east Mumbai, is it is not a concrete jungle.  There are plenty of trees and flowers, and I’ve seen quite a few butterflies.  By the time I returned, the maid had left and I got ready for bed.

When I woke up at midnight, I tore into the box of cereal from the grocery store.  I was wide awake.  I signed into Gchat, and a friend I met through Bombay Expats, a Yahoo Group–sent me a message.  We invited me to go to a party Saturday night at The Hots’ house.  That is a nickname, not a typo, she assured me.  The theme of the party is Mad Men.  Theme?  I came to Mumbai with suitcases filled with long skirts and flowy tops.  I brought one skirt, a pair of black paints, one nice top, and one pair of heels.  I was not prepared for a theme party.  “You should dress up.  I’m wearing a cocktail dress,” she says.  “Whoa, this is serious stuff,” I said.  “Yeah, Mumbai is like NYC in that sense,” she replied, “everyone dresses up.”

I didn’t get the memo.  All I was told was to bring leggings, comfortable clothes that could breath, and tampons, since they are nearly impossible to find here.  It look like if I’m going to keep up with the expat party scene, though, I am going to have to rethink my wardrobe.

***

I took another Tylenol PM at 2 a.m. and slept until 6.  I signed on to Skype and talked to my mom to inform her that I will need a care package sooner than I thought, complete with heels and dresses.

I promise to update you on the Mad Men party tomorrow.  For now, I must go.  My cook is here and I want to learn to make these dishes.  That’s right, a cook.  I am officially spoiled.

More pics of my flat.  Living room/office & kitchen:

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4 Responses to “Sleepless in Bombay”

  1. Yankee Doodle dANNdy October 18, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    I’m reading a lot here about eating, and a fair amount about sweating, but there has yet to be a single mention of diarrhea-ing. I’m waiting with bated breath! Are you holding out on us Ro Ro? Share time!!

  2. Mom October 19, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    Sweetie, I’m thinking your care package will also have to include some more Tylenol PM! Hopefully your jet lag will ease up and you’ll get into a routine soon. A maid and a cook? Isn’t that what you call a “mom”?

    • lynnteaguecoach October 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

      And some Celestial Seasonings “Sleepy Time” tea or chamomile to have a soothing, warm drink before bed. Then at least she’ll have something more to do- trotting to her narrow toilet room when she’s wide awake in the middle of the night. 😉

  3. lynnteaguecoach October 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    So, is it a courtesy or an expectation to tip the grocery-loading-man and driver for carrying your bags? Same for the hired help?

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