Most expats are unaccustomed to having help around the house—unless we have children, or as we used to call our kids, “little indentured servants.” Indian drivers, housekeepers, nannies, and cooks are foreign concepts—no pun intended. But in India, most of the places you’ll consider living have servant’s quarters, a separate servant’s entrance, and potentially a separate elevator. What is a normal part of affluent Indian life seems quite absurd to many of us.
It was silly early in India. At 5:00 AM the sun hid beyond the horizon, reflected light casting shadows over a dusty landscape dotted with multistory flats and makeshift tenements. There are few sounds, save a crow’s piercing squawk, a cow’s soulful moo, and the hum of the nearby concrete manufacturing facility. The unmistakable smell of burning plastic, wet wood, and cow dung permeate the dining room—a recurring beginning on a Newbie writer’s journey.
The ant wars are over. It’s been over a week since we saw our last ant. It is impossible to describe just how pleasant it is to be able to leave dishes in our sink again for our maid to wash. We’ve been spoiled over the last 18 months and doing dishes was a serious downer. But here we are a week later, a sink full of dishes, and not a single ant in sight. What happened?
I am engaged in an ant war, but it didn’t start out that way. Initially it was a gentle attempt to remind Mother Nature’s other creatures of the opportunities outside of our home. Despite fastidious cleanliness and a commitment to absolute aridity, our little ant guests refused to vacate. They were determined to remain in the relative comfort of our Indian villa. It would take more than a little extra elbow grease and a few paper towels to convince them to move out.
I’ve been suffering through a bout of blogger’s block—a topic deserving of it’s own discussion. Anyone whose called ACT Fibernet to file a service request is painfully aware of their questionable customer service skills and seeming desire to do just about anything to avoid filing a ticket. This time they helped cure the dreaded blogger’s block and create a long list of things I’ll miss about India.