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!

Here’s where I buy fresh milk:

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….)

10 thoughts on “Confession”

  1. I’m experiencing the perfect “aha” moment; now I know what to send you for Christmas! How does the saying go … be careful what you wish for because you just might get it?!! 🙂 Watch out for a BIG parcel …
    As for the vest … well, maybe you should mull and keep on mulling until the urge passes … 😉
    Love you!

    1. But what a conversation piece, the vest! As for TP, I’m working every day this week… Hoping the stolen goods last…. Xoxo love you, too maw.

  2. I love the vest – it’s stunning – get it! And I love the tp story – it’s so India (having never been there but your blog is giving me a pretty good feel for the place!).

    Are you teaching???

    1. hannah is staying with us this week – she brought her own roll of TP!!

      yes, i’m filling in when needed at the kids’ school… this week: middle school science.

  3. Great post, as usual. Do not buy the vest. And never let a kid beat you at arm wrestling. I was shocked for a moment to read you were even considering it… but I know you did not.

  4. Love the TP story – $14/8 pack is highway robbery. On the vest front – mmmm no. Love u and hoping the tp fairy visits soon!

  5. i love that you stole a roll from acsa! it makes all our tp mess seem better that way. i have to say a big no on the vest too and as your mom said, let that urge pass, my friend.

  6. Would you like me to give you the contact of the (wait for it) tissue paper & TP-wala ? He delivers. TP, paper napkins, kitchen paper, tinfoil and, no doubt, other stuff that I haven’t yet discovered. And he’s cheaper than the shops.
    We can discuss this over a glass of vino tomorrow.
    And I agree with the majority about the jacket-bolero thing. No.
    x Christine

  7. now that’s a gift from a good friend – the TP wala! yes, wine and lots of talk about tissue and fashion and this damn book that i just can’t warm to…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s