Ragu the bike man and I are friends at last. My first visit with flat tires after getting the cycle from storage (Bike means motorbike, cycle is the pedal kind) he was dismissive and I thought, oh no how am I ever going to get this thing on the road? The back tire promptly went flat again on my way to meet my dance teacher for the first time. I carried the bike through a back road of cows and squatting women and children, who got quite a kick out of me stumbling along with a cycle on my hip, skirting cow patties.
This being my second visit, he asked if it was my cycle. I told him it was and I bought it used. This he seemed to like and he filled the tire and asked, “what other problem?” I told him the chain was always falling off and he straightened the back wheel, which may well have been smashed by Mr Srinivas’s car while in the garage. The seat keeps going up my crotch, so he tightened the bolts, but I feel there is a structural problem there. Some strange sounds come, but I don’t feel anymore as though the thing is going to fall apart mid-pedal. I don’t think the chain can handle me standing up to pedal up hill, so I have been walking it. Gokulum has many hills, one of which I live halfway up.
I feel quite relieved that, by necessity, I have figured out how to use the air thingy so when Ragu is not present, which is often, I can fill my own tires. I asked him if I needed a new chain and he said I’ve got one more month, same for the back tire, but I have to fill it every 3 days. I would rather just replace the stuff, but this is “not necessary”. So I guess I’ll use it till its dead.
As for my little one-room villa on the rooftop, I am quite pleased. Everything seems to have gotten ironed out. First there was no power, then no water, then no shower, then no hot water from the shower. The men have been crawling up and down the ladder, which goes past my window onto the roof where the water tank is. They have put a new tank, very exciting for all involved, which somehow translates to my hot water coming from the shower. However, the electricity is always going out, so the hot water heater is not available. The hot shower, as always, remains a luxury. Which is fine with me unless I have a fever. (Nothing of the sort so far).
I sweep every day with my straw-like broom with hot pink handle (everything in the place is pink, to my delight). The broom seems to be leaving more debris in its wake then was there to begin to begin with. So I go for the damp towel technique. Amazing how quickly dust gathers. The bug net is up and effective, I use the light of my Ipod to find the ones that get inside and yes, kill them. I don’t know anyone who has contracted malaria in Mysore, and I don’t worry about it much in India at large.