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03/30/2013

To avoid burning onself

I was recently asked if Indians still eat in banana leaves and with their hands. About banana leaves I am not sure, but I think they pretty much do in villages, at least in South India. As far as eating with their hands they certainly do and it won't change so soon. And I don't see why it should change anyway! It is super funny to toy with your food before gulping it, and it's a good way not to burn your tongue. And it is a good way to also avoid dish washing, water and washing liquid wasting!

There are other ways to avoid burning oneself... For instance when coffee is too hot, they pour it in the saucer. And they drink from the saucer! And why not?? ;)

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03/28/2013

Ulce-RAT-ion

The other night I was deep into my new favourite activity – namely checking out rats from window – when we heard a wedding band playing from the slum. And here we were, at midnight, my friend and I, getting down to the slum to check out a wedding! I agreed to go on the one condition that if we saw a rat we would turn back. And I am not talking about mice, but these gigantic rats (called Bandicoot rats) that measure 30-40 cms with an equally long tail and weigh up to 1.5 kilos*! The only thing that equals my fascination for me is the disgust and fright they inspire… 

I even put on my rain boots (just in case) but thought they might feel insulted – a foreigner wandering at night in the slum with big blue plastic boots because she is disgusted (they wouldn't think my disgust would be of the vermine)… 

I grabbed my friends’ arm and could not look at anything but my feet – exindia,mumbai,rats,bandicoot rats,rats killerspecting one of these GMO modified animals to come out from nowhere at any point of time. My friend did not understand and thought I was scared of people! Well, if I was scared of people I would have never agreed to stroll in the narrow alleys in the dark… Coz people slice throats and rats, well, they just behave erratically. Ahem, theoretically at least. Because if you see the Pest Control Site of India, they are “large, aggressive animals that erect their guard hairs on their backs and emit grunts when disturbed. If caged with other bandicoots, it is likely to fight to death within a few hours. […] Like its smaller cousin, it is also a carrier for many diseases [including leptospirosis].” 

So no need to tell me non-senses like “it is not the small animal that will eat the big one” or “they won’t do anything to you”!!

You may have heard of these heroes, the “rat killers”? These 44 guys roam around at night, a spear in hand, to put rats on a spit… 

india,mumbai,rats,bandicoot rats,rats killersBasically each guy will catch their quota of 30 rats per night (hence in total 400 000 rats per year would die like this). And the city will pay them about 8 rupees per rat so 240 rupees (less than 4 euros) per night. The killers put the dead bodies in a bag and get them counted in the morning. Some sampling will be done and checked for diseases by a city laboratory because “Black Death or Bubonic Plague, officially declared as wiped out nearly 30 years ago by the Indian government, still poses a real threat to the country and to Bombay (Mumbai) in particular. 

Voilà! 

 

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Sources: 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/04/in_pictures_the_rat_catchers/html/9.stm 

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/2/20120508201205082132096260cde27f/No-more-rat-killers-please-BMC-told.html 

* PCI: http://www.pestcontrolindia.com/know-your-pest/pest/rodent-bandicoot-rat-or-largergreater-bandicoot-rat-29-0-88.aspx

 

03/26/2013

Just to make you dream...

 It does make you dream doesn't it?  

(PS: rêve means dream in French)

 

india,building,mumbai

Construction on the streets of Mumbai.

 

For some reason, Indians love to give French names to their buildings, may look fancy, even with spelling mistakes (like The Souvenier, Palais Royale etc.)