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Meet Pedro

Special dedication to my best friend who had shocked my Indian girl friends in Delhi by commenting appreciatingly the buttocks of the rickshaw cyclist and the figure of the plumber! In India, it is like there was a mass of invisible (but very useful) people who stick to their jobs  and with whom you exchange a minimum of words because anyway (very realistically though also a bit sad and hard to admit for a French) you have nothing in common...

I met Pedro not long after moving in in my new flat in Mumbai...            
Because it didn't take long for my water-heater to blow up... Obviously.
Now that I'm experienced in this type of house catastrophes (this one can easily be put into perspective in a city where the average temperature is 30 degrees all through the year), I didn't panic one bit and simply went down to the first hardware shop to ask for a plumber.               

And here came Pedro. Tall, nice pecs, dark eyes (stressed by the khol underlining), the bad boy (Indian style).

And Pedro was taking all kind of poses, perched on my toilet to reach the heater and I couldn't help thinking of the gardener in Desperate Housewives!!       

When he left, my new plumber recommended I call him for anything else I may need. Anything?? I see you coming... No no I was just wondering what else I could need him for except for heaters bursting or pipe blockage (water pipe that is)... I must have looked puzzled because he then suggested "carpenter, fixing painting, electricity, anything". The magic plumber! 

And this proved very useful as he did drill the wall to put up shelves and frames. He also found the carpenter to fix my cupboard (a smart plumber that one isn't he? He knows his limits!). He fixed a curtain rod and did other things that you are not allowed to do yourself here. Because it is cheaper to get someone to do it than buying a drilling machine or any other tool. Also because it is better and faster done. And it provides money to someone who needs it! So why take the pain to do it yourself I ask??     

Pedro comes running whenever I call and I like this because I have zero patience when it comes to putting up a shelf. Once I realise I need the shelf up, I need it immediately. And he also gets others (real carpenters or electricians) to come immediately! And since he wants to show off his English he even tells them on the phone the job is for a "foreigner" - to translate as "hurry up, there are easy bucks to make here"... And I don't even mind!!
Take the other day for instance. Pedro overcharged me (I estimate at triple the normal price) and I was too tired (and relieved the job was done) to discuss so I hand over the notes with a face saying clearly "I know you are fucking me man!". And guess what, he gave me a hundred back!! Sometime I feel I could find faith in humanity again...

And now meet Pedro!

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     I wanted to take a picture when he was posing drilling the wall - the noise would have covered the click - but I didn't dare so I stole his whatsap picture. You wish you had a Pedro don't you??!!         

By the way his real name is Sameer...
He got that nickname from my bro. Pedro/John Rowland, Plumber/Gardener, India/USA Same same but different!       


Imli-ji in Madhya Pradesh - Part 3

To conclude, what made our trip in quite untraveled Madhya Pradesh – who has heard of it? – very pleasant is that we discovered I could actually speak Hindi! 

I started by throwing in a few words to the herd of rickshaw wallahs jumping on us at Gwalior train station. Till there nothing too unusual… But then in the car, while the driver was chatting restlessly to impress us with his tourist guide skills, both my parents, in turn, told me one: “I don’t know what is happening I understand less and less English?” and the other: “They really have a strong accent in Madhya Pradesh don’t they? I don’t understand a word he says.” The driver had been going on and on in Hindi and I had been ‘ha-ha-ing” all along to encourage him! So here I was, able to kind of understand Hindi!! (With the valuable help of the English words sliding in here and there ;) ) 


And guess what? We had a very chatty driver the day we spent 10 hours in the car… Ah, dear Ravi, who hated Muslims and truck drivers, and who almost threw us in a river. He kept calling “Imli-ji” (“ji” being a mark of respect) to make sure he had my attention.

The ultimate was the lesson I got on how I should hurry up with my marriage and kid plans because if I waited more the age gap would be too big and all. My Hindi was not good enough to explain that in my case I can’t first fix a date and then look for a husband to fit in the plan… 


On a more serious note, throwing in some Hindi with everybody opened a lot of doors and got me a lot of nice smile!!  


Great trip!


Imli-ji in Madhya Pradesh - Part 2

 What a contrast between over busy Gwalior fort and the completely empty Orchha fort we visited the next day! With beautiful surroundings!! Full of flashy greenery due to the great monsoon we have been having this year! 

On the following Sunday we visited the Maheshwar fort and the ghats, both crawling with people. Which meant we had to pose on a hundred of pictures (see my previous post regarding this). So I learnt a lesson: if I travel in India and have to visit a touristy place on a Sunday or a bank holiday I should think of either going there very early or get a massage in the hotel… 


I had been told about Mandu (2 hours from Maheshwar) and was really looking forward to seeing it. And it was really nice! There is a lot to see, a lot of history and a lot of greenery as well. 


But Maheswar was the highlight of the trip. A place with an amazing vibe! And the hotel in the fort (Ahilya Fort) just added to the surprise: a friendly staff (even if they are really anti-Indian tourists (themselves being Indian)), a nice pool, a vegetable garden, hardly anybody, unlimited booze. Wow!!  


hey even arranged for the driver to kill a baby goat (by driving twice on it), escape, get chased by the bakri wallah (goat keeper) who had traded his bull cart for a bike (kinda faster), be part of village fight with guys surrounding the car, reach the police station, pay off the bakri walla (1500 rupees) and the police walla (1000 rupees) to avoid a report, meet the MLA (some local political eminence) who saved the driver’s ass (so that he didn’t have to call the hotel for help and lose his job).


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