Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Social Sunday...

Hi, everyone. Yesterday, Sunday 7th July, was a day of socializing. Just before lunch yesterday,one of K’s colleagues (in the same account, but not part of the same project), Sabyasachi, came over. He is the same person who booked us into this hotel and also arranged for the cab that brought us here from the airport. As I said, we were not being able to do anything here until we had a car, since everything is so scattered around the place. Sabya took us in his car to a shopping mall called Bridgewater Commons, about 7 mins by car from our hotel.Okhane we found a small open-air booth of T-mobile and got ourselves a cell connection.

[Ekhane the strange thing is that you have only CDMA connections, which means that you cannot choose to buy your cellphn model and take a network separately.Phones are available only when you take a connection, but you can opt for a free phn (which means a very simple and basic model) or pay extra for a good phn (although the good phns all seem quite expensive, i.e. greater than 160 dollars). K had very good Nokia cell phn ,which he had bought in USA when he was here previously,but he has misplaced the charger, so we cannot use it. The charger of my Indian cell does fit well into it, but that doesn’t help in USA, as the plug sockets there need very fine-pointed pins, which my charger doesn’t have. So, we get two free phns with our T-mobile connection, of which we already received one yesterday,and shall get the other on the 18th. There was a choice between a Samsung and a Nokia phn, I opted for the Nokia since we’ve got used to handling Nokia sets and their batteries are also reputed to be better.]

Back to non-technical stuff. I really liked the layout of the mall, where there were both big and branded shops as well as open-air hawkers and open-air eateries.People here all seem very casually dressed most of the time and no one really cares whether you are wearing too many or too little clothes, except of course, if you are exceptionally shabby or gaudy.By the way, most of the brands are all available in India, and here too, Sabya Da says, their sales aren’t really sales most of the time, mane they offer you discounts on increased prices. Human nature remains the same everywhere, I suppose !!!

After this, Sabya took us to Desi Bazaar, a shop on N Gaston Avenue, Somerville. It is run by a Gujarati lady and seems to contain almost everything we Indians might need, under one roof – be it breads and cereals, ready to eat foods, biscuits, juices, soups, fruits and vegetables, packed laddoos/mithais, ready to eat rotis/naans/kulchas, non-veg preparations like tea, spices, picles, dettol, cosmetics, bread etc.We bought toasted biscuits (of Britannia), bread (26 slices in a packet), mixed bhel (muri mixed with other condiments),r eady-to-eat rajma-chawal,mutter paneer, pindi chana, dal makhani, palak paneer, sarson ka saag, jeera rice, ready-to-eat chicken tandoori in spinach sauce and kebab rolls, etc. All this was for or next week’s dinner and my lunch also, since K is to lunch in his office canteen. Nowadays our policy is usually to partake of a heavy breakfast (complimentary from the hotel) and a light lunch. Today, for example, I lunched on Maggi soup and bread followed by yogurt (2 packs of which we carry to our rooms after breakfast, as our breakfast is heavy enough without them! ). K had a fish sandwich and an apple juice for lunch at the canteen today, he says.

Anyway, we had a very late lunch at the hotel after Sabya Da dropped us. We were just preparing for a nap when my school friend Sharmistha and her husband, Sourav, dropped in. They live in Flanders, abt 40 miles away from Raritan ( and a 40 mins’ drive). Sharmistha has gained quite a lot of weight, considering she was always reed-thin. She was extremely perplexed as to why it had suddenly occurred to Shobhana to send her a gift via me, that too without any specific occasion in mind. They stayed here for quite a while, we had a great time. Her hubby is a very quiet, solemn and intelligent looking chap. Needless to say, Sharmistha does enough talking on behalf of both of them!!! She is a darling. She is absolutely ecstatic to see me at last and gave us a lot of valuable advice on various aspects of life and living in USA. Honestly, everyone is helping us so much, I don’t know how we would ever manage without them.
Biyer por theke USA eshe neejer guchher sari phele rekhechhe, aktao occasion paini kothao porar but amar saris dekhe akhono extremely thrilled aar bokaboki korlo registry marriage er deen akta simple sari porechhilam. Aar kobe je amai oi uncultured lokjon er moto silk er sari r shathe rubiar blouse pora bondho hobe, shei niye prochur jhad dilo.They departed after coffee/tea etc (provided 24 hrs, free, by our hotel).

By that time, it was already 7.30 pm. We changed hurriedly, since Sabya was supposed to pick us up for dinner at their place around 8pm.I wore the new salwar suit that Mamoni-Bapi had gifted me on the occasion of Poila Boishakh, realising that this was one of the few rare instances when I would have an opportunity to wear ethnic attire at all. ( K says I look like a lady, but I personally think that was because he had got tired of seeing me in jeans for the past one week or so !). Sabya was punctual enough.It was hardly a 10 mins’ drive to their place.His wife Moumita was elated to see us.She is very slim, slightly dark-complexioned,very eloquent, very pretty.Prothome she served us cold drinks and chips.I had pineapple juice, since I’m on a weight loss mission.Prochur adda holo.Sabyasachi ke prothome khub chupchaap aar serious mone hoechhilo, but badite he really opened up and oder byaranor mojaar shob goppo bollo.He lives in BJ block in Salt Lake while Moumita r baaper badi is in Kasba Bakultala.Ora Independence day weekend e Niagara byadate gechhilo by bus and since K had been there before, they had a great time comparing their respective experiences.Ektu pore Ratul bole oder office er akata chhokra dropped in ( he had also been invited), K ero chena.Ratul told us of his harrowing experiences with dentists’ bills in the US. Moumita bollo or ak relative ache in the USA, she naaki bolechhe taar dui chhelemeye ke plumber aar dentist banaabe (considering they earn much more than our husbans are or will ever earn!!!) We had bhaat, motorshnuti diye moog er daal, chicken curry,bnadhakopir torkaari,bagda chingrir jhol and aam er chutney for dinner. Sabyasachir paala chhilo oi din rate thaala dhowar, jodio amra shobai volunteer korlam to help out. Their home is very plainly but prettily furnished aar bheeshon comfortable.One –bedroom apartment, but living space ta besh bodo. Bishal black rexine sofas, akta chhotto TV-DVD unit, akta dark wood er centre table, akta chhotto 4-seater dining table, microwave, fridge. Ora bolchhilo fittings gulo besh lojjhode tobe shotyi kotha bolte dekhe bojha jai na. Amra kothai accommodation nebo, sheta niye besh chhap e achhi. Ora ei mash er sheshe Somerset e Somerset Mews bole akta apartment complex e shift kore jachhe, shekhane laundry ache,fitness centre ache akta, prochur Bengali families aar akdom raasta cross korei Patel Bazaar, jekkhane shomosto Indian necessities are easily available.Amrao okhane jete parle khushi hotam, kintu amader problem ta hochhe je unlike them, we don’t have a car, so Somerset would be too far for K to commute unless he can become part of a car pool with ppl from his office,who also share the same timings. Somerville area ta K er office er kaachhe,okhane prochur lokjon o ache K er office er, but okhane dokkan paat ektu kom aar Bengali families thakleo besh scattered bhabe ache. Moumita to ato frustrated chhilo kotha bolar lokjon na peye je amader peye hathe shorgo peyechhe mone hochhilo. Ora Somerville ei thaake, kintu laundry ta oder badi theke beriye besh khaanikta. Winter er kotha bhebei lokjon ekhane laundry r byapare ato concerned, karon it is supposed to be unbelievably cold during the winter months and therefore, venturing outside is a terror.
Kaal rate amader phirte 10.45 pm hoye gechhilo.K er friend, Sushmit had called thrice aar amader nap eye, akta voice message rekhe gechhilo je amar ato raateo room e nei dekhe or ektu chinta hochhe.Amra immediately call up kore oke reassure korlam je we are perfectly ok!!!

More details coming up soon. Here it’s 10 pm, Mon July 8th and my poor K is waiting for me to serve dinner. The menu tonight is rajma chawal and yogurt. Am off to serve dinner !!!

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