Another 7 days and our French sojourn ends. Back to India. In the earlier days, how I used to pine to go back…but now that it’s going to be a reality, I think I am going to miss this place. The tranquillity of it all. Back to the hustle bustle, the heat and the dust and the cacophony that is India. Make no mistake…I am not complaining that I am going back. After all, it’s home. But a bit of me will miss France. Each time I go out, I pay special attention to every road, every house, every shop, nook and cranny…perhaps this'll be the last time I'll be seeing them! We are just back from our Saturday marché (the farmers market or what we call ‘haat’ in Bengali). I felt like saying goodbye to the friendly chicken seller, the Arab vegetable vendor, the white jacketed seller of grilled chicken. I wont be seeing them again. But I just made small talk. A goodbye is so final!
There is so much to be done. How clutter piles up. Packing is almost over. With a steely heart, I threw away anything that I won’t be using in India. That includes letters and cards that I got from friends(I re-read them all over again…you’d be surprised how small things can add up to the dreaded ‘excess baggage’), old clothing (if you haven’t worn something for 1 year or so..you wont ever… no matter how much you promise yourself that you will diet and fit into those jeans), books (once you have read them…you are not going to read them again…except perhaps a few classics)…the list is a big one!
But I am not literally throwing them out with the garbage. I walked down to the cathedral and got a list of places to donate stuff to. I was surprised to find that a small place like our town is so well organised. The two old ladies at the cathedral were most helpful and pointed out who would like what while giving me the list. La Croix Rouge (Red Cross) would probably take our old clothes, Accueil des personnes sans domicile fixé or Reception of homeless persons would take our pillows, blankets and possibly mattresses, and lastly (and one which makes me very happy) my well stocked kitchen I can donate to Restos Du Coeur (Restuarants of the heart) which runs an open kitchen through donation of food stuff from donors. Books are going to a friend to whom I will possibly donate my Bengali spices – radhuni, panch phoron or Bengali five spice, posto – poppy seeds or khus khus in hindi, kalonji seeds, mustard seeds, ajwain etc. (the French wouldn’t know what to do with them – they use cumin, coriander and haldi which is known as the mouthful ‘circuma’). Furniture (what little we have) is going to be sold at La Trocante – this huge depot of mind boggling array of second hand stuff…anything you can think of, they have it hat stand to CDs, to books to oak chests!
Notifying the electricity board – EDF, our insurance (home and medical), France Telecom for our telephone. And only four days (Monday to Thursday) to do it all. The dreaded ‘l’etat des lieux’ is scheduled for Friday. The house agents will be coming to check the state of our apartment before we finally hand in the keys. Its strange how two people with the occasional guest can manage to smear, blot, stain walls and floors and how! And ofcourse it is helped by the heavy Indian cooking. This despite my mania of cleanliness (A claims it makes him tired just to see me cleaning, washing and dusting)!!
No matter….I am ready to attack it all…with special bleaches, brushes etc.
I will try and post…but if not, I will be back soon with ‘Notes from India’!
PS - AAB DILLI DOOR NAHIN! - Delhi is not so far, now.