Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ladders on very slippery tiled floors

I know that it goes without saying that you would not climb up a tall ladder which is sitting on a shiny tile floor without bracing it against something or having someone hold it firmly.  Right?  Well, that's what we were doing.  Gopal was galantly hanging a crystal windchime in the high domed ceiling of our dining room.  I was holding the ladder, with trepidation.  The ladder is made of bamboo and is 12-feet tall!

He successfully hung my windchime, then decided to clean the windows that were up there.  He asked me to get some window cleaner.  I did.  Down he came!  We think the wounds on his left shin were from the ladder itself.  After a couple weeks, one of them had not healed and looked funny.  So, we had our doctor look at it.

To make a long story short, a surgeon looked at it and performed a small surgery on it to clean it out.  Here's the result.

Both of us feel insecure about the drastic steps taken.  This wound has had trouble healing too, so our doctor checked Gopal's blood sugars.  They were up, and I am now giving him insulin shots, as well as taking his blood sugars.

It is now two weeks since the surgery, and the wound is starting to heal slowly.  (More later.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Upholstering furniture through an interpreter

When we first moved to India in mid-2008 and eventually settled near Coonoor, in the Nilgiri mountain district of Tamil Nadu, later that year, we bought an inexpensive set of living-room furniture for our very humble apartment.  Several years and a couple moves later, the couch became very uncomfortable to sit on.  The life had gone out of the seat.

I speak very little Tamil.  My husband grew up speaking Tamil so does most of the communicating for us.  One of his favorite sources of information is our driver, Prabhu.  Each inquiry is an opportunity for Prabhu to deepen his network here in Coonoor, as well as lining his pockets I'm sure.  When Prabhu discovered that we were contemplating re-upholstering our living room furniture, of course he had just the person to do that for us.  The next thing I knew the arrangements had been made, and I was choosing new upholstery fabric.

Before I knew it, the upholsterer, his son-in-law and their sewing machine (pedal action) had taken over our balcony.  I was so mesmerized watching them work so skillfully.  Before I knew it, one chair was already upholstered.  I wanted skirts added, to cover the legs and make it look more dignified.  Before I knew it, I could see RUFFLES rolling out of the sewing machine!  Yikes!  No, no, no!  My idea of skirts on couches and chairs was flat with pleats at the corners, etc.  I looked it up on the internet and showed them.  By that time, it was too late.

The new and the old - amazing transformation

Having lost the battle for the skirt I wanted, I was shown the finished product.

I think they only envisioned the furniture lining the walls, so who needs skirting on the back?  Me.  So, they fixed that.

I think that they magically transformed our old furniture into much more lovely seating.  I have learned to forget the ruffles.  (The skirting on the back of the chairs and couch are flat.)

To make the recycling process complete, here's where the original upholstery ended up.  That's Prabhu.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Joan's visit - 09 March to 08 April 2013

Joan and I walking near our house in the tea plantations

Our housekeeper, Papathi, arranged a home cleansing puja for our house
March 20th, we started of on a road trip, beginning with Wayanad Wildlife Preserve, which was closed.  So we decided to see an old Jain temple in Wayanad District and then head for Kerala and the coast on the Arabian Sea.  ( Joan isn't in many of these pictures because the pictures are all from her camera.)

Sulthan Bathery Jain Temple, Wayanad

This temple is one of the most important among a series of ruins spread across the state of Kerala that testify to a period of a strong Jain presence in this region.  Believed to have been built in the 13th century, it served as a HIndu shrine, an important center for commercial activity and eventually as a battery (ammunition store) for Tipu Sulthan's marching army.

Gopal at the Khozikade beach across from our hotel, our first stop on the coast

Raintree Lodge, Ft. Kochi

Kathakali dancers putting on their makeup

Kathakali dancers

Kathakali is a stylized classical Indian dance drama noted for the attractive makeup of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion.  It originated in the country's present day state of Kerala during the 17th century and has developed over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming. (Wikipedia)

We continued south along the coast of Kerala to Alappuzha (Alleppey) where we met operators of a backwater houseboat, who had seen us in Kochi, tracked down our driver and guided us to their boat.  Hmmm.  Lots of competition.  We spent two days on this houseboat.

The Kerala Backwaters are a network of inerconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets, a labyrinthine system formed by more than 900 km of waterways, and sometimes compared to the American Bayou. (Wikipedia)

It was wonderful!  I had sprained my ankle badly in December and was still having trouble getting around.  So, laying back with my feet up as we glided along the backwaters was wonderful.he

Aishwarya's engagement party and wedding - 9 December 2012 and 1 February 2013

Aishwarya is our good friend, as is her family. We travelled to Chennai in time for the engagement party on 9 December.

Aishwarya's parents, Mahalakshmi and Govindharajan, Gopal and I in the hotel room the family reserved for event staging.  In the upper right is Aishwarya having her make up and hair done.

Deepak, the groom-to-be, and Aishwarya

The pastor

The immediate Govindharajan family

The Wedding - 01 February 2013