Making chai in Kathmandu


I had another first: making chai with frozen cubes of milk! Seriously. Cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die seriously.

I made tea in the morning — I put the pateeli on the stove, and added water, tea leaves, sugar, and cubes. of. milk. I kid you not. I went to the fridge to get the milk… and! IT. WAS. FROZEN. The milk, that is, not the fridge, but seriously. The milk was frozen! Whitish ice! I stood and stared at it for a bit, willing my jaw to pick itself up off the floor.

My jaw refused to move, so I scooped it off the floor anyway and tucked it back in place. Then I took the ice, broke it off into pieces, added some to my tea, and threw the rest away. So seriously now, how does milk FREEZE. How the fuck does milk freeze!!! How much water did it have to contain for it to FREEZE?! I’m not feeling too much goodwill towards the shopkeeper who sold this to me. I need to find a place where I can get proper products — such as non-freezing milk. :-P I wonder if Safeways will have them. Will check it out after work today.

Yesterday was a ball, except a bit right at the end, but more on the end-bit later — good things first. I met someone from Karachi — a friend of a friend. Yay! We went to the Umbreeki club, then Paddy Foley’s in Thamel to watch the Ghana-Australia match. I actually enjoyed football for once. Lots of Aussies at the pub, so rooting for Ghana was fun. :-D The match was a 1-1 draw. Then we went to this bar called Sam’s (also in Thamel) and met some very interesting people. They had good music too.

A Nepali gentleman who traces his roots to Burma and the Rajputs of Rajasthan (or that’s what I think he told me, I’m not very sure now) told me some very interesting stories. Among them was one about how some Gurkha soldiers deserted the British army in Afghanistan and settled down there, so we should be able to find some people in Afghanistan who trace their roots to Nepal. One way to do this, we decided, was to trace the route of the British army, and take it from there. Sounds VERY fascinating — journo-wise and academically! I wonder if we can do it. Volunteers, say ‘aye!’ Ditto for anyone who can give me more info on Nepalis in or from Burma, as well as descendants of Gurkha soldiers in Kathmandu. The people in my head will be very grateful.

I also met an Australian couple who’re working on a book about the ‘great Himalayan trail’ (GHT). From what I gathered, they’ve been at it for 18 years, have gone over the entire route all over Southasia, and have had some exhibitions. The book, I’m told, is coming out very soon (“any time now”) — should be very interesting.

Then I looked at my watch and realised it was 10:40 p.m. and the gates at the guesthouse are locked at 11:00 p.m. We rushed back, and I got to the gate at 11:02 p.m. (yes before 11:05 p.m.) — and the gate was locked. Seriously. So I knocked, and this guy came to open it and told me very grouchily that I was supposed to me in before 11. Surprisingly, I managed to bite back the nasty retort that was itching to come rolling out, and simply told him k ji 1) I apologise for the inconvenience that it has caused; 2) It was only 5 minutes past 11 and overzealousness isn’t always a virtue; and 3) to please not use that tone of voice with me ever again. I said it as nicely as I could. Controlling my temper is neither fun nor is it one of my strong points, but I guess I’m learning.

Oh and the work-week starts on Sunday in Nepal. I didn’t know that, and got the shock of my life when I got out in the morning and saw SWARMS of people heading off to work. MY concept of Sundays is quiet streets with me going to work. Here its the opposite — Saturday is the weekly holiday. Hmmm!

It rained a little yester-evening, so that was khushiaN, but it is back to being super-stuffy today — so much so that I decided to take a cab to work today instead of walking. I’m told that it has started raining in the southeastern part of the country, and what we’re getting here is the front tip of that system; so we’ll get rain here too — soon. *fingers crossed* :-)

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