Thursday, 25 February 2010

"Supermarket Hell"

Today we paid about £1.50 to hire a rickshaw to take us to the nearest town, stock up on groceries, then deliver us back home, bags-a-bulging, to our sweet little house. The boys were BOTH (hurrah!) in their respective schools for the first time ever, so it made sense to take advantage of the time we had sans kiddies.

So what did we do? Go back to bed and have a proper lie-in for the first time in five years? Sashay over to the beach and stretch out on loungers with our respective novels, sipping sweet lime soda's and shooting smug but euphoric grins across at each other?

Nope. We scurried on over to the internet cafe for an hour and sat side by side with our respective laptops, getting our fix of cyberspace and email like the addicted little rats we are. Then after, we blew £30 grocery shopping in the most shambolic 'supermarket' (if you can call it that) we have ever been in. How lame are we?

Upon entering, you are immediately made aware that it is going to be hell. It kind of feels like 'Supermarket Trolley Dash' but in a third world country, where a limited range of products are laid out willy nilly and in no particular order.

Our carefully hatched plans went to pot. It's reminiscent of Ikea you see, with a frustrating one-way system...but more like a maze really as you don't even get to pass through all the sections. God help you if you need something in the cleaning products aisle AND the condiments section, because as I saw it, it was either or. (Hmmm...soap...or raspberry jam?)

You are encouraged to keep moving as you are shoved on from behind by impatient shoppers, nudged forward via forceful (and very much on purpose) baskets 'to the leg', past sections you barely have time to peruse. You can never, ever return to grab something you might have missed - and find yourself regretfully casting your gaze back to the package of almonds you weren't quick enough to scoop up - unless you exit the store and begin the whole process again.

Anyway, sussing out the potential headache in store, I gave the husband his own basket and brief instructions to pick up some of the stuff, sending him on his way with a sigh. I followed closely behind, but we got separated somewhere near the crisps section (figures).

Next thing I know I'm kicking my too-heavy-to-carry basket along the floor, arms laden with foodstuffs, desperately hot and profusely perspiring, and just when I'm about to lose it I spot the husband loping towards me with a huge grin. He's triumphantly waving his basket, which I am soon to discover carries a mere kettle, four tin water cups, a tea strainer and a cheap £1.50 aluminum frying pan. He appears very pleased with himself.

Dear god.

Dropping my basket and other foodstuffs at his feet, I storm upstairs to finish the job (PROPERLY I might add), amidst feeble protestations of, "Don't leave me here with all this stuff!"

An efficient 10 minutes later I'm back downstairs, and find him in one of four queues, where I forthwith replace the cheap and utterly useless aluminum frying pan he chose with a decent £9 one.

He baulks. "What! We don't want a 600 rupee frying pan! What's wrong with the one I got?"

I begin to tell him but then grow so impatient, bored, and overcome with the futility of the conversation that I merely fix him with an icy stare and say, "We're getting it. Case closed." (We all know if won't be HIM vainly trying to scrape foodstuffs off the useless pan, and either burning or undercooking ever single meal we attempt)

So now we have a fully stocked pantry, and I can basically make my family anything their hearts desire. long as it's banana porridge, 'finger chips', nutella/jam/peanut butter on toast, eggs, or pancakes.

Still, best to keep cooking to a minimum I reckon, as an attempt the other day to make pasta for the kiddies in our friends posh villa, almost resulted in a medical disaster and/or kitchen fire. Despite paying six times the rent we are, this being India, it should have come as no surprise that the entire whole stove unit was not properly affixed to the wall. You can imagine our horror when a simple attempt to open the oven door caused the whole thing to come hurtling out from the wall, scalding water splashing all over the kitchen and just narrowly missing our bare legs.

The fellows came rushing in, and my friends husband starting mopping up the mess while MY husband had the good sense (despite being a few Kingfishers worse for wear by that point) to at least rescue the other saucepan which was still hovering precariously on the edge of the stove AND even more crucially turn off the gas burners!

See, the husband has his uses. Perhaps grocery shopping isn't his strong point, but he makes a mean pot of chai (tea) and can rustle up a makeshift toilet flusher like nobodies business.

And he doesn't wee the bed.

I'm a lucky woman...I really am.

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