Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gangrene Sweets Open Since 1882

We are finally moving to our new apartment today. We closed yesterday paying three month’s rent as a security deposit, plus first month. I only found out a couple of days ago that I’m going to have to come up with another month’s rent for the agent. They get paid by the renter and the landlord one month each. Not bad for him.

We went out shopping yesterday and Uttam, one of the most helpful people I know, took me everywhere that I needed to go to pick things out and then he took the list of stuff I didn’t need to approve. From cups and cutlery to a toaster, induction plate, plastic storage containers, glasses, etc., he got everything. For all of the basics, it cost around 11,000 rupees. I paid 13,000 for a small Whirlpool refrigerator (about half the size of a standard American one), around 6,000 for a Samsung microwave (that also grills), 17,000 for a 1.5 ton Carrier air conditioner, and about 8,000 each for two mattresses. Manish gave us a set of microwave items including a rice cooker, which I could have used in the states. I plan on getting some real furniture next month or maybe October, after Will’s school has been paid off. Electronics cost around the same here as in the US.

I am hiring a driver to take me back and forth to work again. The taxicab thing isn’t working out well for me. There’s too much stress when I don’t know where I’m going and the taxis are just not trustworthy. Maybe trustworthy is too judgmental. Some of them aren’t thieves, they’re just stupid and know as little as I do about Kolkata streets. Regardless, I don’t know enough Hindi or Bangla to argue with them. It’s just not worth the trouble. I will be paying about 900 to 1,200 rupees per day, which I think is more than reasonable considering they work from 8am to whenever each day. If I were visiting Kolkata, I think I’d hire a driver for the day to take me wherever I wanted to go. If I go visit Mumbai, I will do the same.

Once I get paid in September, I will be looking to purchase a car. I’ve been told to get a Nissan or Honda, but I have my heart set on an Indica. Don’t ask me why, but I just love them. Maybe I can find a battered up ‘98 white Indica - I’ve been using that image as a metaphor at work to describe something that is familiar and has been dependable and working well, but now it’s tired and dated and needs to be cleaned up and modernized. I’ve grown a bit fond of that car…

The weather has been very humid, and it seems the rain is coming down after I arrive at the office. I keep seeing my staff come and go with umbrellas, but I never see the rain. Now, with the big terrace, I’ll be much more in touch with the weather. I have a friend who is going to help me set up the terrace like an oasis in the air. I’ve been considering borrowing Lee’s idea of using a hot tub without the heat, and keep the bubbles, as a sort of pool, along with lots of banana, mango and citrus trees, hibiscus and jasmine. I’m so excited about this move. I haven’t been home since my property was moved!

Will just came in to the office. He was telling me there is a shop near the house called Gangrene Sweets. It’s been open since 1882. Makes you wonder.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck...buying/using a car in India is
-Relaxing..basically mixed..

You just have to figure our when and when not to use it.

Driving the US is(rather was) a pleasure and driving in India IS a pain..hopefully it wont be too long.

Pls write more about ur frustrations, culture shocks, and great moments.


Anonymous said...

I really like your style of writing. Its's amusing as well as engaging. :)
By the way, I was just wondering that how come I never knew about Gangrene sweets even spending all my life here. :( I think the name would be GANGURAM rather than Gangrene. Ganguram Sweets is a famous sweet shop; infact they have a chain of sweet shops in Kolkata as well as in other parts of India.

Anonymous said...

Mam, it is ganguram sweets and not gangrene!

Mitzi and Jerry said...

Thank you for this blog. I will be moving to Kolkata toward the end of next month for one year. Your blog has been very helpful and informative! I hope we can meet someday. I am from Houston, TX.

Mitzi and Jerry said...

Thanks for this blog! My husband and I will be moving to Kolkata next month for one year. Your blog has been helpful and informative! I hope we can meet someday. I am from Houston, TX. - Mitzi

That Girl said...

oh goodgrief!! are you sure it isnt GANGURAM Sweets?

im from Calcutta ( yes i can never call it any other name!) My husband is American and he loves the place.. for all its grime.

Hope you settle down soon!! it takes some getting used to!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeanne and Wil! Hope you are doing well. Lots going on back here in Chicago. Email us!
Love, David and Lee

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