The Kettle saga

Outside of the practice here in Mysore you still need to do stuff, Laundry mostly, along with eating and shopping. Things break and need replacing, but in India it’s not quite so easy as it is back home.

In the last two days the strap on my yoga mat bag gave up on me, but by far the biggest disaster was that my little travel kettle, that has been to every country I have in the last 30 years died spectacularly, it made a sizzling noise then flames started coming out of the base. Luckily I was nearby and pulled the plug before it could trip out anything else.

Rest day Saturday turned in to expedition Saturday afternoon to get replacements.

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My new mat bag with pocket for my Shala pass and morning shawl

Getting the mat bag replaced was pretty simple, as you would expect in the world Ashtanga capital. I knew that my AYL bag had been made by Rashinkar down in the city, so I walked in there with my old mat bag and said “I know you made these a couple of years ago, have you got any more?” Well in just a couple of minutes I had a new one, the same design, size and strong straps with a slightly bigger pocket on the front, 300Rp. The problem with Rashinkar is they have nice stuff, so it’s hard to just get what you came for, you end up browsing. Despite the increasing daytime temperatures the mornings, though not cold, have a crispness to them that requires something extra over the shoulders while walking to practice at 4:30am and sitting at Amruth drinking my chai later. Another 20 minutes later and another 300Rp lighter I have a simple shawl to help keep the morning chill out.

Finding a new Kettle was obviously a much higher priority, no way can I exist on any part of this planet without tea on tap. Loyal World seemed a likely place to get one. Most of the goods in Loyal World are spread out on the floors over the three levels, but “expensive” electrical items like Kettles, Toasters, mixers and microwaves are held securely behind the counter, you have to tell the person what you want and they bring it to you. “I need a small kettle with a two pin European plug to fit the socket in my apartment please”, “for making coffee?” He replies grabbing one from the shelf. “For tea actually” I reply, at which point he puts the first one back and takes another one, “for making tea” he says. What the difference was I have no idea,only in India do you seem to need a special kettle for making tea. The 1745Rp kettle is metal and quite heavy for its size and comes with a 3 pin plug. Umm not quite what I was looking for, so I ask him to get the first one down, the one for making coffee. I ask him if this second one is ok for boiling water? “Yes for water and coffee” he replies enthusiastically. This one is plastic, only 900Rp and much lighter, but again comes with a 3 round pin plug, which I can’t use.

Nothing seems to be standard in India, power sockets are any combo of 3 pin Indian, 2 pin European or the fat South African pins, they all emit 240 volts luckily.

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New Kettle with its adaptor

So back to the plastic kettle which is basically what I want , but can’t plug in. “You need adaptor?” He asks. “Well yes obviously”. “70 Rupees” he replies. Off he goes ferreting in a huge plastic tub full of hundreds of little boxes, he emerges after some time with a small box “adaptor” he announces triumphantly, we get it out, the outlet is 3 pins, which kind of defeats the object, 3 pin plug into an adaptor that has 3 pins the same coming out. “It won’t work” I tell him. “2 pin don’t have!” He says emphatically. So I tell him I’ll try Easy Day. I’m just about to walk away when he calls someone over, this person looks at me and says “we have two pin adaptor“, he disappears in to the same plastic bin of little boxes and quite some time later emerges with a smile and a different shaped little box. We all stare as he carefully opens the box, we have developed an audience by now for this kettle saga, and Lo and behold it’s a 3 pin in, two pin out, yay.

All three of us then transfer to the cash counter where the money gets taken, the receipt and guarantee card get official stamps. It’s taken nearly 45 minutes to buy a kettle in India with a plug on the end that will fit an Indian domestic socket.

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Because I can’t do without it

Nothing in India is ever simple, you need to allot the amount of time you think something will take and then quadruple it. India is however a “can do” type of place and 9 times out of 10 you will get what you wanted, it just takes a lot more patience and perseverance than it does in Tesco.

One Response to “The Kettle saga”

  1. Mike Evans Says:

    Any amount of time is worthwhile to be able to have a decent cup of tea! That reminds me – must call by the indian tea man in Borough Market next time I’m in London and get some of his first flush Darjeeling. Is it too much to expect decent tea to be available in Mysore or do they export it all?

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