I'm surrounded by different Chineses, Malaysian, Telugu and French (met the cutest French kid at the mall today) and I'm loving it, as they say in MacDonald's! And living in a Telugu home after so long, I've started speaking that once more. Have been shopping like crazy, buying the most impractical things which seem to have no place in a self-respecting trousseau. I wanted to buy the loveliest purple canvas sneakers I saw today. They were too expensive though, I felt, so I compromised by buying shoelaces in that colour. I can always thread them through more boring shoes. Have bought the shortest skirt I have ever worn. Yummy black and guaranteed to upset the old biddies. Ma picked it out, and looked longingly at it till I bought it, and now she's asking me (in a quavering voice) not to wear it around any relatives. She's either a terrible hypocrite, or else the answer to a question I've been asking myself a long time, viz, Where did I get my affinity for acting!
She has also taken to asking me to move here for a couple of years. I have tried telling her that I don't want to live so far away from India, but it doesn't stop her. Talk about vicarious ambitions! I feel right at home around the MRT, I must say, because it reminds me of good ol' Cal, and I can relate to its workings very easily. It's all very clean here, of course, but it doesn't bother me like it did my father the first time he came here, nor do I feel it to be so very different from our own cities. What I like is the behaviour of the people. The salespeople are invariably so friendly, no matter what I'm buying or whether I'm buying at all; in the MRT there is neither a rush for the seats nor a palpable waiting for one to vacate one's seat; nobody seems to stare at the clothes one is wearing, for any reason at all. Of course, that involvement in the lives of our neighbours that we Indians seem to be known for does have some advantages. Bharathiakka, who we're staying with, says you don't get spontaneous help on the streets like one takes for granted in, say, Calcutta. The only thing I'd wish to learn from here would be to sell things... they do it impressively well. The other thing they do well, dressing stylishly, I already know :-) (Ok, maybe I don't always follow it, but I do know more about dressing than most people!)
The mall Daiso has toy furniture! Barbie-size wooden stuff as well as dolls' house -size 'antiques' and everything at 2 S$. It's a great place, all right. We went all over that mall, and I bought myself purple shoelaces and also a pair in camouflage colours. Spice up a trousseau, don't you think?
Everybody has recommended tourist attractions I must not miss out on. I don't think I'll get to see them, though. There's a walking tour I would like to take, and perhaps I can go somewhere with Ravi one day (not a mall) but our time is taken up by the shopping. In fact, shopping has dominated my life for the last few months and I fear I'm becoming thoroughly spoiled. Not that it stops me from going into the stores!
One more exhausting day is drawing to an end. But I do like it here and I couldn't have nicer hosts. Hope I get the chance to return their hospitality someday.