Did I mention that I’m often hauled out of deep sleep by the telephone?
Just when I thought I had beaten the dreaded jet lag, the phone rings, loudly enough in my dreamless state that it would wake the security guard who is usually to be found sleeping soundly in front of Krishna’s house. Hello? “Who am I where am I what am I is throbbing in my skull. It’s dark outside, it’s Krishna on the phone. Doesn’t he ever sleep? Truly one of the great mystical beings of Asia that I’ve heard about…like the miraculous non-eating saints of the Ganges River. “What time is it?” Four o’ clock in the morning, of course..
“The bench is being delivered, and the workmen can’t get it up the stairs. Is it OK to just install it downstairs?” Far from the students?–no way. It’s made to be taken apart for transportation, just find the screws that hold the table to the legs. Not happening–WHAT? I rise from my sleep, MacGyver at your service. Without hesitation I command poor Krishna to get in the car and pick me up in five minutes. Turnabout is fair play…
We arrive at the house and 6 burly dudes have the bench on it’s side in the hall. Krishna is clearly stressed. The security guard is still peacefully snoring at the gate. Traffic laws don’t allow trucks to deliver during daytime traffic hours and Krishna is worried that the dudes will just consider the delivery accomplished and leave–your problem now. The bench which is meant to disassembled is screwed and glued together–disastro! My trained eye quickly determines that the culprit is the white cabinet maker glue, Fevicol, the favorite glue of the destroyers of violins in India. With a sledge hammer and some heavy heaving and grunting, we manage to free one end. Hallelujah, we can now lever the rest of it and break the glue joint. Up the stairs it goes and within minutes workbench nirvana is achieved! Now installed right next to a large portrait of the maestro, Lalgudi Jayaraman, bliss is ours! Despite the hammering and racket, the security guard still snores peacefully at the front door.
Krishna delivers me back to the hotel by 6 a.m. and I spend quite some time pacing back and forth, laughing loudly to myself, as if possessed by some sudden onset of deep and profound insanity. Krishna tells me later that he overheard one of the dudes tell the other that he was certain they were going to get a “blasting” when the giant white guy arrived. Instead, my “Kaalai Vanakkam (good very very very early morning)” which I learned from the hotel doorman on the way out to the emergency, had seemed to do the trick and set the mood for all of us heaving together to solve the problem. Modest Tamil language skills save the day one more time!