Monday, January 5, 2009

Candy from Strangers

Sometimes you just have to disregard the warnings from dear old Mum and say yes when a stranger offers you candy. Yesterday our little entourage was walking the 750 meters from our house up to KK Road to grab some lunch and do a little shopping. We had managed about 2 blocks or so when a black SUV pulled up beside us and offered us a lift to the main road. The fellow was alone and there were 5 of us - albeit, 2 under the age of 8 - and Rob and I had already done the same walk, there and back, earlier in the morning to get some footage of our local market. So we all piled into our neighbour's car, out of the blinding sun and into AC luxury. Emma and I recognized the driver as the "mango man" who lived in the house on the corner with the big mango tree. About 2 weeks ago, on one of our many walks to KK Road, we were commenting on the beautiful, though not yet ripe, mangoes hanging from a tree in one of the yards. He over-heard us and told us we were welcome to pick them anytime we liked (we LOVE mangoes!). We hadn't taken him up on his kind offer since the mangoes were still a little way from fully ripe.

Not one of us is SURE of mango-man's name, although he did introduce himself to us in amongst the mayhem of boys piling into the car. We think it is Rajesh, so that's what we are calling him for now. As Rajesh drove us up to the main thoroughfare, he told us that although he was a lawyer, he and some friends have a new venture - a company producing and selling ayurvedic products. I have a keen interest in ayurveda and have done quite a bit of reading on the topic over the years. Rajesh asked if we would like to see their new offices. Rob said it was my call...Hmmm...We weren't starving, just a bit grumbly for lunch, so I snatched that candy out of the stranger's hand and off went the 6 of us to a nearby neighbourhood to check out the brand-spanking-new offices of Mayden Ayurveda. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

It was Sunday so much of the building was unoccupied. This might have worried me if it was just Emma and me but what was this guy gonna do with all 5 of us? Our first stop was an office on the first floor. Rajesh stuck his head in the door, had a few words in Malayalam, pulled his head out again and asked if we were okay with "drink". We were a little confused at first but it turned out that Rajesh wanted to make sure that we were okay with his friends drinking beer in our presence, before letting us into the office. Silly question to us perhaps, but in a state where they advertise "family" restaurants (meaning no alcohol is served and women don't have to worry about their reputations) and alcohol is strictly licensed, this was a sensitive gesture on his part. We assured him that beer-drinking was okay with us (oh the irony! see Rob's previous post) and entered the office. We met "The Doctor", Dr Venugopal, Ayurvedic practitioner and the creator of their products. Well, I should say product (singular). It turns out that, at the moment, Mayden Ayurveda offers one product and one only, the amazing Herbosutra - an herbal aphrodisiac! We were shown through a couple of offices, introduced to the partners (an Engineer and a Building Contractor) and shown the pamphlets and magazine articles on India's rival to Viagra. We were offered samples as well, but after much good-natured joking, we assured our new friends that we were not, any of us, in need of their little green pill!

The good doctor even gave us a consultation for Isaac. Isaac is just about to turn 5 and has suffered from eczema, allergies and allergy-related asthma his whole life. The best info we can get from western doctors is that Isaac just has a "different" immune system and that the symptoms he has should be treated with cortisones. Although Isaac's body has responded very well to India - very little eczema and nothing else yet! - if we could find a way so that that relief stays with him even when we return to Canada, what an amazing feat that would be! The poor tyke could finally stop scratching his way through life. We are supposed to seeing the doctor again after monitoring Isaac's water-intake and -outflow (yes, the boy is peeing in a cup for now) and we'll see where that takes us.

One of the fellows - the engineer I think - who is an old school buddy of Rajesh's, got Rob talking on the subject of music. Rob has been missing playing music so today G., the engineer, and Rob are out in search of an acoustic guitar! Nothing fancy or expensive, just something to keep Rob's callouses from getting soft. Apparently other friends of Rajesh - a foodie couple - are now interested in meeting us, perhaps to discuss our project and how they can help! Things seem to be falling into place. When the candy is this good, it's very hard to say no to strangers...


Murray A said...

And here we thought only contacts like that were made on Bowen!

Rob.... you never said if they offered you any beer or did they think that you were in greater need of the 'pill'?

Rob Bailey said...

Yes, they offered, but I declined, as it was a little early in the day for me! Trying to set a good example for the kids, you know...

And despite being admittedly curious about their product, the fact that it was simultaneously mutually declared to be redundant by both of us was most reassuring!