16 April 2010

Ding dong!

A friend who had spent some time in the US told me that she found it to be a quiet and lonely place. No traffic noise. No crowds on the streets. No one talks to you. And no one knocks on your door… I had to laugh because it’s true that in India the doorbell rings several times a day.

Ding dong! Who could it be?

It’s the maid.
It’s the newspaper man coming to collect his fees.
It’s the man from the cable company collecting payment. (This is how bills are often paid - the only bill we receive by mail is the phone bill.)
It’s the courier man. (Any important document is sent by courier and not by post.)
It’s the paper wallah coming to collect old newspaper.
It’s the dhobi wallah delivering my ironing.
It’s the man who washes the car.
It’s a salesman selling encyclopedias.
It’s a woman asking me if I want to subscribe to DNA newspaper (“Your neighbours have subscribed,” she tells me, thinking this will convince me.)
It’s a man with a garlanded bull playing a nadaswaram (a noisy reed instrument)!
It’s someone from the BJP who wants to give me an election flyer.
It’s a group of children collecting money for the Ganesha festival.
It’s a neighbour stopping by for a chat.

These are some of the people who show up at my door. Actually I’m lucky that the entrance to our home is at the back of the house, so I don’t get too much traffic. People who live in houses often lock their front gates to avoid the not-always-welcome guests. Or they have a security guard stationed there whose job it is to deter beggars and salesmen and welcome bona fide visitors. It’s a full-time job!

Now please excuse me… someone’s at the door!


kc said...

You are never lonely in India!It's the perfect escape for me from our dreary, lonely winters here in the US!

Anonymous said...

People who live in houses often lock their front gates to avoid the not-always-welcome guests.

This is summarized by what my landlady once said: we do not entertain strangers here

Anonymous said...

Isn't THIS the truth!

We do have a guard, to help dissuade visitors ... but we've even taken to hanging a "do not disturb" sign on the door in the afternoons so that even THEY know when not to bother!

Isabel said...

I also noticed that many people have a 'Beware of Dog' sign on their front gate but usually there's no dog around... my landlords have the sign but no dog!

Seth Dalby said...

When I lived in South India, it was often the neighbor kids coming by in hopes of cake and tea. Or the man next door who was too cheap to buy his own coconut oil and wanted to "borrow" mine. Good times! It's nice to get unexpected visitors sometimes.

50 foot QE said...

I agree completely, except I miss the quiet of winter in the US. The solemn rustle of the snow on branches and the simple joy of warming up inside with a cup of something hot.

It took me months to get used to the constant interruption because of someone at the door.

Now I live in Singapore and it is lonely AND hot. Well...the roads are good.

Thanks for the lovely blog!

Veganosaurus said...

I really miss the peaceful life I had in the US. Absolutely no unexpected/unwelcome visitors. :)

In fact I got so used to it there that after coming back to Bengaluru, I never got around to hiring a daily maid because the thought of letting someone in to break the silence each and everyday did not appeal to me one bit. I like my Rapunzel's life. The tower is a wonderful haven... as long as I have access to the internet at all times of course. :oP