LAVISH

The Daily WORD is LAVISH

It is humbling to be welcomed as lavishly as I am in India.  The caretaker and maid, Gladywn and Christine, remembered that I like yogurt in clay pots, not plastic containers. Suchi remembered that four years ago I banged my head on a ledge in her office and cautioned me about that ledge again today. Abhay still has the rose I flung last year over the partition between our offices. He will fling it back when I am particularly engrossed in my work – or maybe the rubber snake I left on his chair yesterday.

 Puti, the houseboy, remembered that I enjoy the newspaper and delivers it at dawn.  Vasanti remembered that I am allergic to fish and was not offended when I did not tuck into the fried carp heads she had marinated in ginger garlic paste.  Ganeesh remembered that I like cardamom tea and brings it steaming to my office in my favorite china cup. It is my favorite because three years ago I remarked that the violets around the rim are pretty. Asha remembered my shoes; Mala remembered my earrings.

Vasanti gave me a bouquet for my room, and Abhay gave me one for my office.  Vasanti’s son gave me a Cadbury chocolate bar. Tomorrow I will be officially welcomed with a garland. These people, it seems, know me as well as an auntie who has visited for decades. And these little details make us family. 

And so do secrets. I am not allergic seafood; my “allergy” is fear of hepatitis. As for the newspaper – I need something to wrap garbage in.  Fussy little china cups are not my cup of tea. Garlands make me itch and sneeze. I know my memorable earrings are a sign of poor taste for they are not gold.  My shoes are a local legend; because they are clunky lace ups, not dainty sandals with sparkles.  But the details of my “druthers” and my little secrets help to make us family.

Having family at home and family in India feels more lavish to me than owning a McMansion in Naperville and a condo in Vail. The only way to trade up is to have another family in Italy. But that would plunge me into detail confusion. Limoncello in a teacup…allergies to Kentucky fried chicken…garlands for my grandsons…cow-poop-proof shoes in Milan…

Puti’s paper delivery woke me from a dream:  I was in Illinois and had wrecked my car. A friend drove me home. My former insurance agent, Lee, was waiting in my driveway. “Your insurance agent knows before God does,” he said waving a pen and claim form. Lee’s service was lavish, too. My current insurance agent greets me with a recording and a menu of buttons to punch. He has a heavy Asian accent, and I do not believe his name is “Steve.” (Outsourcing call centers are for another blog, not one rated PG.)

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