~By Anu. For anyone who thinks doing business in India is getting easy, here's a vignette of my week:
1. Walked through dog piss, man piss, beggars, drunks, over a series of deathly open manholes and through traffic to see my friend's local mall in Saket. There was a yellow Lamborghini inside on a car-sized turntable.... and many many women in tight jeans and high heels trying on lipstick at Lancome. "This rail-y makes my lips look purple, don't you think?" said one pouting and turning from side to side in the mirror. She eventually bought two at $40 each, smiling as she handed over crisp thousand rupee notes. I happened to see her later outside the mall haggling with an autorickshaw driver in a threadbare shirt. "No, no! I will only pay you twenty rupees! Come on."
2. I still don't know where to pay the water bill despite asking my landlady and several people in the neighborhood. So far, I've been told to go the petrol station, the post office and the local water authority - but no one's quite sure where that is. The newspapers report that at least half of Delhi's water supply is stolen.
3. Our landlady, who is extremely nice, tried to get me to oversee major plumbing work (half the building doesn't get water as some complete numbskull cemented over the outlet pipe and valve attached to the overhead tank). I'm flattered that she has such confidence in me... but not vain enough to fall for such a thankless task.
4. Got 3 extra keys made. The man used two files, a pair of pliers, a hammer, calipers and some spit to do it. It cost me $3.
5. The garbage man comes everyday wearing white ipod-like earphones. He doesn't speak. He won't take newspapers, bags of dirt or old flower pots. I put the newspapers out for the recycling merchants who pass by all day on their bicycles calling out for customers. It rained.