Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It Takes a While

Filed documents in one of the records rooms, municipal building, Baroda. Wendy waits in the next room with a group of interested parties, negotiating the rubberstamping of our lease agreement: the greased- palm facilitator , our landlord who is a distributor of aftermarket truck springs from Mumbai, and his minion Gautam, a not to be trusted and morbidly obese young property manager and scion of a family that manufactures plastic components for dry cell batteries. Replace the local people with Europeans in black suits and white shirts. Film the Kafka story of your choice. We are in India.

I'm writing this at the door to one of our three balconies. A white faced, gray bodied monkey just jumped onto a tree limb in front of me. Yesterday, Ben was sitting on this balcony, using the same unprotected Internet connection I'm using, and a monkey joined him. We realized the bars on the windows work to keep out all kinds of intruders.

Right now a Muslim craftsman with good English is driving nails into strips of velcro around the windows of the apartment, so we can hang mosquito netting. We also have a cleaning woman in and her supervisor whose role is to tell the cleaning woman what to do. He doesn't do anything himself. You see a lot of trash and dust here. I'm more used to junk and dust than trash and dust. Everyone is so accustomed to everything being dirty that it seems no one knows what amounts to clean. Those of you who know our house may be shocked by this.

Last night was our first to sleep in the new apartment. This was, of course, delayed. Every path runs in a circle here, and considerable negotiation is required to complete the simplest task. The thump thump of rubber stamps runs steadily, but never seems conclusive. We went to a police station last night to register our lease as foreigners. A mouse ran out of the cop's office when we entered. I suspect it was tired of waiting. After much discussion it was determined that we would have to return today to get the proper stamping.

A lot of this action entertains us. I wouldn't have missed the stacks of tattered records and the labyrinth of the municipal building for anything.
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1 comment:

  1. Now that's a prodigious stack of paper. Greetings from the land of President Obama. Speaking of rubber stamps, I learned this morning that Obama's father's half sister has been living in the US for four years without papers. Perhaps the papers got lost in Baroda.

    Thanks for starting the blog. It will be a great way to keep up with stories, and listen to you think out loud about what you're seeing.