Saturday, October 13, 2012

From Manila to Calcutta

Mother misses her Filipina*neighbour, who suicided, very much, but she is not about to welcome another from exotic climes into her life. Beside Mother's house are three units, built about ten years ago. One of them is occupied by an Indian couple, their toddler daughter and the mother of one of the couple.

Mother has occasional chats to the couple and she allows them to use her rubbish bin if they have too much rubbish and she has space in hers. Nice to be friendly with the neighbours of course, but friends?

The Indian grandmother has taken to bringing her grand daughter into to see Mother. Grand Daughter is too young to speak properly, having only a few words in her vocabulary as yet. Grand Mother has even less English words in her vocabulary. She stands at Mother's front door after ringing the bell, smiling and chatting away in Hindi. Mother hasn't a clue what she is on about but it seems not to matter.

'Invite her in for tea Mother', I suggested. I was smartly rebuked. 'What would I talk about with her when we can't understand each other. I don't have the time anyway. I have my jobs to do.'

Fair enough, and the Indian Grandmother does seem the type who might make a daily habit of calling in for tea.

With a flash of inspiration by Mother, she took them to the back yard and with some gesticulating, showed them her lemon tree and asked if they wanted some. The lemon tree has long supplied the Highrise with lemons for g & ts and cooking. It has looked like it is dying for more than ten years, yet it is constantly in fruit.

Indian Granny accepted the bag of lemons and happily trotted off home with her grand daughter in tow.

Is Mother going to give them lemons every time they call? There will be no lemons left for the Highrise g & ts.

To be continued, no doubt.

17 comments:

  1. Michael7:53 am

    Hmmm, I have to say (and this is totally cultural) but if you don't restrict access to the lemon tea, you might not have any lemons left after opening the flood gates. Restraint is hardly an indian's virtue. Or for that matter, an Asian. Especially when there is no common language to speak of

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    1. Michael, I am sure Mother will keep them at a distance that suits her.

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  2. Firm relationships have started with less than this.

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    1. Yes they have Victor, but I doubt it in this case.

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  3. g&ts - the giants?
    What's a little lemon here and there? Easier than serving tea to the neighbors anyway.

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    1. Rubye, gin and tonic, a fine summer drink with a slice of lemon. There will be a problem once Mother picks all the lemons that she can reach. The child is too small and neither Mother or Grannie would be up for climbing a ladder.

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    2. Ah so, now I see...
      I've never tried gin and tonic, nor gin, for that matter. I'm a Cape Codder I'm afraid.

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    3. Rubye, I had to google the cocktail. It sounds ok. Maybe too sweet for me.

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  4. You may have to visit Mother more often and get your lemons before the Indians do.
    It's a shame your mum can't see herself making a friend there.

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    1. Must I visit her more often River? People are so kind to her but I, no we kids, get frustrated at how she won't help herself.

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    2. You don't need to see her, just duck around the back and raid the lemon tree. If she spots you, say you thought she wasn't home.

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  5. It sounds like your mother fears a loss of "personal space" and is not sure how to limit the number of visits.

    Perhaps your mother could invite her in a for a plate full of that great Australian gourmet dish - curried sausages. That would be enough to keep me away.

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    1. FC, we have more in common than we think. Curried sausages has been a long running joke between us and our Brother Friends. One of them has expertise at curried sausages listed on his cv. While his curried sausages have never caused us food poisoning, they are rather plain. Now R's curried sausages........unbelievably good.

      Are curried sausages the true Australian dish?

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  6. You must post R's curried sausages recipe soon.

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    1. River, I am afraid it is in his head. Sultanas are involved though.

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  7. aaah at least her neighbours make a little effort. I wish I had neighbours that cared. I met my "over the back fence" neighbours the other day, they've only been living there a year!

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    1. So long as not too friendly Fen.

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Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.