Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas

Last weekend we went to the city centre to buy our christmas tree. Obviously christmas isn't so much of a deal over here: I'm only getting the day off because it's on the weekend. Even so, quite a few shops had some decorations in the window. Buying was proving slightly harder, until we found a lane off the main MG Road (Mahatma Gandhi, but everyone calls it MG) that had speciality christmas shops. We left laden with a fake tree plastered in equally fake snow, tinsel, baubles, other gaudy trinkets and of course the multi-program blinkenlights. As you can see, it is all set up and flashing away.

These natty stars are a traditional thing over here. It looks pretty good when the ceiling fan is cranked up...

So we await the day. Presents still need to be wrapped, and hopefully they will prove popular. As always there is the danger that the boxes turn out to be the most popular item.

The neighbours are organising an appartment complex get together on christmas eve. It's a bring you're own food and drink event, so we'll get to sample some more Indian home cooking. We had a small meeting in one of the flats today to discuss preliminary planning: things are looking hopeful. We're having the soirée in the common entrance hall to one of the flats (entrance hall is gilding the lily - under the flat would be more honest). Concern was expressed as to the drinking of alcohol lest it upset the puritans. Immediately a senior lady retorted that they're our flats and we'll do as we please! There is a serious point here: some appartment complexes in India can suffer the tyranny of the majority. It is not unheard of for vegetarians to expel the carnivores. The wise woman advised that us hedonists lay down the ground rules before anyone else gets a chance. On hearing that lights were banned, as some people may object, she asked 'Who said that?'. On hearing it was the site manager she responded firmly 'Let me speak to him.' - I don't envy him.

On the subject of potential offence, an American woman (the same strident one from the earlier hot water posting - she's Texan which I suspect explains the stridency) asked if it would be alright to play some christmas music in the background during the dinner. All the Indians were perplexed as to how this could possibly be a problem. Some right-on councils in the UK could learn a thing or two - as could those who are quick to percieve a slight wherever they look.


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