I stole a roll of toilet paper from the American Club today because we are down to using Eddie’s “Happy Birthday” napkins. I’ve mentioned this before, the dearth of toilet paper in my house. How does this relate to India, you wonder? Let me count the ways….
1. I can’t buy a mother-lode of paper to store extra rolls in the bathrooms. There are no Sam’s Clubs, or supermarkets, or hyper-markets, or Walmarts, or Carrefours or shops in Delhi with the space to stack lots of anything, including toilet paper. A family of five, especially my super-sanitary clan, uses a lot of paper. And, I think it’s fair to say that we use slightly more paper here than we would in many other places…
2. Getting to the store to buy toilet paper isn’t always that convenient. The stores don’t open until late morning, the local markets are depressing – grubby, run-down, stinky, pot-holed, littered, crowded, loud. When I am in the right mood, this is charming, local; it can be fun to be in the fray. But when I am not in the mood, using Happy Birthday napkins instead isn’t such a bad option.
3. Sometimes, stores just aren’t open – like this weekend. Saturday was Gandhi’s Birthday, a national holiday. There were nine bank holidays last year, 11 central government holidays and more than 20 public holidays, including religious, bank, state, central, court and union holidays… I think. It’s a confusing system – India is so diverse, it has lots to celebrate. Today, the city ordered all businesses to close for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. My guess: to reduce crowds and opportunities for a terrorist attack.
Because of the Games, we’ve been warned that supplies may be low during the next two weeks. Trucks are not allowed into the city or on roads that lead to the venues. Already, I can’t find boxed milk within a three-neighborhood radius of my house. There’s a local dairy down the street. I pushed aside health concerns, walked over with Olivia and had the vendor fill my jug with the fresh stuff the other day. It’s buffalo milk – buffalo produce more milk on less sustenance than cows. It’s not pasteurized, so we boil it. The kids are in heaven. My nanny seems to like it too – she drank half a gallon in one afternoon. I read that urban and rural Indians spend a healthy chunk of their food allowance on milk products.
4. Toilet paper is expensive here. This doesn’t stop me from buying it of course, but I notice the cost every time. We pay about 14-dollars for an 8-pack of the best stuff on offer, which actually comes from Indonesia.
5. Blaming myself – I’m just not as motivated and super-organized as some of the supermoms around me. The shopping here wears on me. One of my friends (and readers) said it best: I go shopping but when I open the fridge, there’s just not enough inside to make a yummy meal. Yummy or not, you can bet that not long after eating it, you will need toilet paper…
A lesson in how to entertain 13-year olds: “Mrs. Yardley, will you arm wrestle?” Hmm….
Should I let her win?
Never! I’m shameless – and the kids loved it!
My baby – he’s no longer five:
And he LOVES arcades. We celebrated his birthday here:
Little boys, big boys – they all love speed:
Women’s work at a construction site – they get to lug the sand:
Should I order one of these? It’s a vest designed by one of India’s rising designers, Nida Mahmood: (I’m mulling it over….)