Friday, January 17, 2014

First RUHSA visit 2014

Owing to the beauty & brevity of twitter I have been able to annotate this year's progress at RUHSA without resorting to lengthy blog posts, for which I seem no longer to have the time. The seductive pleasures of intermittently tweeting have overtaken the homework-like feel of blogging. But there is so much going on that several times 140 characters cannot possibly be sufficient so I have forced myself to be a good girl and sit down to my long overdue prep on "What I did in my holidays at RUHSA".

The most momentous news is that Rita is a grandmother. She was delighted to welcome her newborn grandson to her family on 7th January 2014 - the second time in 2y I have been lucky enough to see a friend's unexpectedly early arrival. Last year, Victoria & Sudhir were delighted at Aadya's eager entry into the world which, had she been, on time, I would have missed. Rita's as yet unnamed grandson is very beautiful and clearly seems to have all his faculties intact as he blinks angrily at the bright lights when the blanket is lifted so admiring glances can be made and startles tremulously at the toxic air-horns on the passing trains. He too was early and is no doubt wondering why he bothered to rush as he is subject to the sensory overload India provides.

Of course, this week is Pongal, which has turned out to be a mixed blessing. As the organisation is Christian, the staff do not celebrate the Tamil Hindu Harvest Festival/New Year celebrations which exuberantly stretch across several days. However, the local community does, which means that the staff have an unexpectedly lean time, with fewer activities and therefore more time to sit down & talk to me about how things have been in the last 11 months. Of course it also means that a few staff are taking advantage & are on leave and also the projects might not be running exactly as usual, but being here fore 10d has helped ensure that I have seen pretty much everything I wanted to, which is great.

Everyone is well and happy to see me, as I am them. Most of us a little greyer, some faces new, some faces missing from the annual retirement cull but new faces also on the scene: despite her age and previous mid-life crisis, RUHSA is burgeoning new life and forging into the future with great purpose and intent. 

Rather irritatingly, several people have correctly noticed that I am not as lean as I was when I first returned after my great loss. Although to a man (and woman) they are all saying they prefer me like this, still it is galling and has forced me to take stock. I am trying to think lean whilst here, but it is almost impossible. The Indian diet is a gigantic challenge for your average dieter. It is heavy in oil, the food is cooked till pulpy and the body needs expend no energy to digest it thereby increasing its glycaemic index & the quantities served, are ridiculous. The plates are the size of small tea trays. Not even small tea trays, come to think of it. Couple this with a natural desire for people here to force a constant stream of tidbits, heavily sugared tea and coffee, snacks, extra portions, large portions and other consumables, refusing all the while to allow "No" to mean anything other than a coy segue to a resounding "Yes", spells disaster for someone who is naturally greedy. On more than one occasion, an extra portion has been slipped underneath my outstretched hands vainly attempting to cover my plate, amidst lentil-showering, increasingly desperate protestations of impending food-induced explosion. I don't even want to think about how hard I am going to have to work on my return. I think the quest is on once more for a non-anorexic tape-worm.

However, the simplistic luxuries of my room have allowed me to have a couple of lean meals on my lovely induction ring which is so aesthetic it is a pleasure to use. In addition, a kettle provides me with the ability not only to have tea without sugar (my natural preference) but also a stirring glass of Booths Earl Grey, which I have successfully, if a little pointlessly, introduced to a couple of people here. They all agree it is delicious.

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