Saturday, September 1, 2007

Mr. Smith Takes Another Turn

To say that living in India is an adventure is overstating it on most days. There are days filled with it, don't get me wrong. Days like when the transformer caught on fire (the electrical one that affects the power supply to our neighborhood, not the autobot/decepticon kind - they usually repair themselves), or when Mrs. Smith tried to have a heart attack and leave me a widower with seven children - admittedly not the most marketable of men even in the best of times - something we are still working through and I keep reminding her about as my husbandly duty. But most days are humdrum days where I go to the office and come home to a room full of people watching TV or fighting over who gets to be next on the computer. One person that never fails to bring a tad more adventure to the house is our landlord. I believe Mrs Smith has made mention of him previously, so I will offer a brief recap for those who might not have read that part - came into the house uninvited with his wife and said "hello?" as we were gathered at the dinner table; came into the house uninvited with his son and two friends to inspect the termite damage; came in uninvited to inspect the termite damage and forced his way into the bedroom while two of our daughters were bathing in that room's bathroom and then tried to go into the bathroom; brought multiple people into the house to show it to them - prospective investors, and still uninvited - completely unannounced. I'll leave it at that. After 5 months of constant intrusion and badgering, he has finally stopped coming in (we renegotiated the contract to give him more money and stipulated 24 hours notice before coming to the house). Until yesterday...

In all fairness, he didn't actually come into the house. In truth I wasn't even present as I was entertaining a colleague from Hong Kong at Bukhara (an Indian restaurant in Delhi that is number 37 on the current list of the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants - I tried to find a website for them but only found a copycat restaurant in Cape Town and lots of reviews, so google them and check out the reviews - they are amazing) so the story all comes from Mrs Smith, who dealt with it amazingly well.

He came to the gate and wanted to see that the lights were all working on the outside of the house. Why, I am not sure, but I imagine he wanted to be able to see the house lit up and have others see it as well. That should be good for our $325 dollar monthly electric bill (some things are cheaper here, but not housing or electricity - or electronics, or dinner at Bukhara for that matter). Anyway, he then proceeded to come to the side door of the house and spoke to the cook, demanding the oven. Yes, that's right. He wanted to take the oven. So Uday came to Mrs Smith and told her that he wanted the oven (thinking he wanted the oven that we bought, Mrs Smith AND the cook both became rather indignant about that and said no) but then he made clear that it was the microwave oven he wanted. Um... still no. We use that. Then he said that if we were going to use it we needed to pay him rent for it. Last I checked, the $3000 plus dollars he gets in rent included the microwave. Which reminds me of a story.

In 1992 when Mrs. Smith and I were attending BrighamYoung University (rise and shout...) we lived in a cute little 2 bedroom apartment in Provo, Utah. It was on the third floor of a small apartment complex that was filled almost entirely with married students. It was a great little apartment. It really was. We had so much fun gathering at the railing in front of the apartment and talking with the other couples in the complex on warm summer evenings. It was a pleasant place to live and we remember it fondly. It even had a dishwasher in it. We were not allowed to use the dishwasher, however, because we were not willing to pay the landlord the extra money he asked for after he installed it. We were paying $350 a month, and when he installed the dishwasher he wanted an extra $25 a month (maybe $50 - Mrs Smith will know). They taped it shut with security tape and checked it regularly to make sure it wasn't compromised. I should have known then that people are ridiculously stupid. Really. We are. All of us. Remember when we elected Dubya the first time? When we almost elected Al Gore instead? Case in point...

So our current landlord is at the side door demanding the oven, and the cook is telling him no. Frustrated by the refusal of the microwave by the mighty Uday Singh, he then demands the hotplate that was in the house when we moved in. It was set aside when we bought the oven (the range with the oven and the stovetop, not the microwave) and hasn't been used for months, so the cook pulls that down and gives it to the landlord who takes the hotplate and leaves, presumably to cook something but I don't really know because he didn't take the cylinder of propane (the propane sits inside the house next to the oven connected loosely by a rubber hose without a clamp - but that is another blog entry) so maybe he was going to steal someone else's propane. About this time, Mrs Smith decides to check the house register to see if the hotplate was provided by the landlord. This register lists everything in the house and who provided it, some by the landlord and some by the company. Lo and behold, the landlord stole the company's hotplate.

Needless to say we may be looking for a new home. Then again, there are never any guarantees that the landlord there will be any better. After all, remember the whole people are stupid thing. Need more evidence? We elected Dubya again last time and we're looking at Hillary for next time. Maybe we should just elect our landlord (who actually happens to be a local politician). His slogan could be "put your hotplates in a lockbox," or "the ever present president," or maybe "vote for me or I'll steal your hotplate". How about "I invented the internet and environmentalism"? I think that one's taken though...

5 comments:

Rachel said...

stupidity...its cosmopolitan!

Mrs. Smith said...

The land lord in Provo wanted $50. We refused to pay it because we rented the apartment with the understanding that a dishwasher would be installed soon, there was no mention of increased rent. Plus,$50 dollars is a lot of money to starving students! Luckily there were only three of us back then, not too many dishes to wash. This land lord now? Don't get me started.

Rachel said...

I have never even heard of something like charging people rent for appliances!!
My grandma was a short tough little landlord in the university town here where I live and her apartments came fully furnished.
It is a pity you couldn't have had her as your landlord...well she would come in unannounced, as well, but just to check if there was anything that you needed fixed or if you were eating enough.
I hope that you soon find a decent landlord.

Mr. Smith's Brother said...

You gonna charge the landlord rent for the hotplate?

S. Ray from Pod Central said...

Hey, Smiths x9,

Being, "Mom" to two boys who, even now, months after the DVD release, never go anywhere without "Optimus" and "Bumblebee", your "Transformers" reference had me laughing out loud.

Those "Blue Line" buses... Decepticons.