tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The only 5 Toilet Paper Rolls in Town...

... and they're all mine.*

There is no TP in this town, but we do have a "western" toilet (which, by wonderful happenstance, faces west).

Other than the absence of bum-wipers, here are some nuggets of info about life (or my first four days of it) here in the town of Berhampur, the Tuque Souq's home for the next year:

Water: There's plenty of it, but the only potable kind comes in litre-sized bottles bearing the Kinley brand, an imprint of The Coca-Cola Company, which even at 14 rupees (35 cents) a pop is hardly what one would call sustainable development. Let the boiling begin! 

At the hottest time of the day, the mercury is hovering around 35-38 degrees Celsius, on its way to 47 (or worse) by the end of May. Of course, the hottest time of day only lasts from 8am to 6pm. God(s) help me!

Urban legend once held that if John D. Rockefeller saw a $100-bill on the ground it was not worth his time to bend down to pick it up (because he earned more than that every 5 seconds or however long it took him to pick up a c-note). I'm starting to wonder if my lifting the bottle of water to take a gulp is worth the sweat I expend to do so!

Food: Rice is the staple; lentils the protein; veggies--tomato, cucumber, aubergine, okra, cauliflower, potato--the vitamins; curry the sauce; roti the belly-filler; puri and idli the breakfast treat; dosa the fast food; khiri the dessert; rasamalai the delicacy... and probably there is a lot more to explore. My current favourite namkeen (snack) is a fistful of jeera biscuits (small crackers toasted with cumin and masala).

Transportation: There's the auto-rickshaw; its fitter, sexier cousin the cycle rickshaw; the over-stuffed bus on (and on all sides of) which any space not already occupied by a human is considered an available "seat"; and one's own feet. Berhampur is not as compact a town as we'd imagined, so walking (given the aforementioned heat) is not always possible. At least I get picked up for work everyday in an air-conditioned jeep.
Neighbours: Many of our closest neighbours are pests, and not the kind that are invited over for chai and stay well past their welcome. No, these are the kind that bite, sting, buzz, creepy-crawl, slither, shriek, moo, and other things that we may not have discovered yet. The geckos are on our side, we've decided. Everything else is an intruder.

Our new apartment is very nice, very breezy, very secure from monkeys; the mosquito net is firmly in place around the two single cots hinged together to make a double bed. In the heat of the day, the critters are mostly in check. At dawn and dusk, here they come!

* Well, mine and my partner's. And between the time of writing and the time of publishing, we've lost at least half a role with no accountability. Thus the following system must prevail with respect to the dwindling TP supply: 


Isabel said...

Go on, take the plunge and give up the paper! It's actually pretty satisfying going native and not throwing all that paper away.

Your flat sounds nice. I hope you are both settling in ok. x

The Tuque Souq said...

We are slowly "going native", square by diminishing square.

In case it confused anyone, the famous 5 rolls were brought all the way from Delhi.