Thursday, November 12, 2009

Centre Table

I had read a lot about coffee tables and “the coffee table books”. The coffee table is not a very significant piece of furniture down south. In most houses that I have visited the centre table is pushed to the side to make space for movement. It remains a storehouse for dusty magazines and the homework books of children.

Not so in Delhi. The centre table occupies…yes the prime space! You generally find two centre tables in most houses. They have sleek glass tops and boast of attractive conversation pieces.

Why two centre tables? Well as soon as you walk into a Delhi house a tray of sparkling glasses with RO water is served. That occupies a corner. Bowls of fresh sweets, tasty fried snacks and dry-fruits are brought in. One centre table is done with! While it is groaning under all these calories you are encouraged to take something….at least a sweet! ... and you are thinking of the added rounds that you have to make at the jogging park … but the sweet is irresistible and you cant deny your taste buds!

In comes one more tray with paper napkins and hot samosas. Mmmm yumm! This finds place on the second table. Then come cups of hot chai. The second table is made good use of.

Aaah! With the tables well occupied we can relax and settle to a long conversation.

Good Hindi from one side and Hindi-English-Kannada one the other side. My Hindi is improving and so is their English and Kannada!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bubbles that cheer

Having spent more than 35 years in Bangalore we have now moved to Delhi. There is a fascinating difference in attitude, culture and thought. This blog will now feature some of the observations made.

We came here in the sweltering heat of Delhi in June. Even time tested Delhi-ites travel to the cool climes of Bangalore in this season and here we were ..... relocating to Delhi in peak summer from a city that had a natural air conditioning from the sky!!!

The heat notwithstanding we were quite geared up trying to fix our life with Delhi essentials. Curtains, AC, water purifiers, side tables, eating out and socialising with neighbours was high on priority list.

First the AC! The electrical shop is just down the road. We had hardly entered the shop and a dusty tray with glasses of water was proffered. Not sure if it was safe we refused as politely as we could. We completed the shopping. Feeling most de-hydrated we heaved ourselves into the hired cab wishing we had taken up the “water offer”.

Braving the scorching heat we drove to a carpenter’s at Amar Colony. Even the few yards of walking that we had to do were painful in that draining heat. Soon as we reached there he offered us refreshing glasses of cool Limca. Oooh! That brought back lost energy.

The next day we decided to do the upholstery. We stay in Mayur Vihar and the place has almost every kind of shop! As we walked into the loaded curtains shop a boy came up with a tray heavy with glasses of bubbly chilled water. Aaah! What joy - brings a plain glass of water - to a parched throat! Believe me, a few minutes of walking in the Delhi heat can leave the uninitiated … quite parched.

I realized wherever you go in Delhi their charming hospitality begins with cool life giving aqua. You could just walk into a neighbour’s house to drop the keys and she will ask you, "Want some water?" And even offer it to you without waiting for a reply. Every shop, house, outlet and agency has ready access to cool water.

Delhi has a weather that de-hydrates. A cool glass of water is always welcome.