Monday, December 24
I got up about 8:30 and went down to get the newspaper and sat on the first floor balcony to read it. Ten minutes later a monkey joined me.
I go inside to fetch my iPad and, seconds later, I return and find four or five on the railing. Some wander away but two stay, seemingly unconcerned. I sit and photograph them.
Sometime after breakfast Irma will wash the sheets and pillows and put them out to dry on the washing line on the roof. She will then do her now-traditional Santa Claus act, delivering small gifts to Naa and I, while singing and sqeaking manically.
I will get three Kit Kat bars from the “sophisticated” range; some Van Heusen underpants; and the Christmas Monocle; along with a very Indian card.
I will sit and read Object Oriented Ontology, by Graham Harman, which I found at the Modern Book Centre. I will look up at 12:34 to watch a monsoon-like rain appear from nowhere. It will last for nearly two hours.
Naa and Irma will go for massages just as it stops, while I make the beds.
They will return with my new trousers and a cake from Anu. The sun will appear.
We will put the sheets out again and call Irma’s mother to say Happy Christmas. Next we put up the outside paper star that we took in out of the rain. As soon as we have it up on the balcony the rain will suddenly start again.
We will bring the star back in and go up to the roof to bring the sheets and pillow cases back inside again.
When we last met Uday, Irma asked him where we should eat to celebrate Christmas. At 18:00 Tangaraj will take us there: Raahath in Minra Avenue, near Theatre Junction, not far from the road that leads down to Blue Breeze, where we used to stay when Auo came with us.
Raahath will have hardly any tourists eating there. The three other Europeans look as though they know why they have come. What we order will appear in the order they cook it, so starters will appear as just another couple of dishes.
Naa will have two prawn dishes. Irma will have a spring roll and chicken tikka. I will have chicken lollypops and vegetable kadai with egg fried rice. Yes, they do Indian, Arabic and Chinese food, and all the rice options have Chinese origins.
The starters would happily serve as main courses. We could happily have ordered one dish each. The food will taste delicious and I will get all the hot spiciness I could possibly want with my vegetable kadai.
I will almost finish my dishes. Irma and Naa will leave enough to justify having it packed to take home.
When we get home I will drink two litres of water and nobody will want any alcohol.