Remember the (written-in-French) post where I described this idea of getting an indian yogi consultant shipped to you in a box by UPS for some low-budget mission? The indian colleague who inspired me this joke just pointed me to his blog. And it appears that while writing about his experience in France, he didn’t describe himself as a yogi shipped to the counrty of frog-eaters but as an indian werewolf in Paris. There’s no doubt that I have some progress to do in understanding the indian culture (even though I already know that Kannada is not Canada), including the reason why he is referring to himself as a werewolf. But anyway, his article is a great source of fun for starting this new year with much positive energy.
Being a vegetarian was quite a challenge in the office cafeteria.
Before Pramod and his colleague came to France, we had been warned by Pivolis that they would have some difficulties with our food. Unfortunately, we could not find the ideal daily solution to fix that as no vegeterian restaurant seemed to ship vegeterian meals at an acceptable cost in Paris La Défense. Business opportunity for some franco-indian entrepreneur? I love reading Pramod’s adventures in Paris restaurants (but who on Earth is Shammi Kapoor ???). It’s funny to know that Indian people also have some crêpes-like dishes (dosas). But do they also drink cider with them? Probably not. They don’t know what they miss. ;-)
On the subject of food, one thing that really surprised me is the bread. It usually gets served on your table when you walk into a restaurant, with some cheese gratings on the side. In one Italian restaurant off Ave de Champs Élysées (where I spotted Leander Paes, that being the French Open tennis season), I was given this incredibly hard bread – I really needed a chisel and a hammer to make some progress with it. Who eats this stuff?!
Errr… Well, you’re right for the bread being served (for free) in French restaurants. But these cheese gratings are really not that common. In fact, when French people go to some Indian-cuisine restaurants in Paris, they often ask for some cheese naan. French bloggers even post their personal recipes for some Frenchy cheese naan imitation.
By the way, never heard about Leander Paes before. My tennis culture is as under-developed as my indian culture.
Regarding Italian hard bread, you ask « who eats this stuff? ». The answer must be « indian tourists »? Just kidding… Italian restaurant usually serve some very good tasting crispy pieces of bread called grissini.
I said, dude, just give me plain water – I don’t want any of this fancy l’eau minerale stuff. Well, I didn’t exactly say dude, but I was pretty exasperated at the thought of having to pay for water!
The trick is to ask for a « carafe d’eau ». This means you will get plain water (for free). Eau minerale is only good for
tourists restaurants. :)
In the last few days of my stay there, it got really warm – to the lower 30s, and it became very pleasant. It was interesting to see how the people’s work attire changed with the weather. The women here normally have greater variety in what they wear to work. When the temperature rose, they suddenly switched to their « summer » wear, like flowers blooming in spring. The men continued to wear their standard suits and ties, but the women, ummm let’s say, got liberated :)
Now, you understand why French men love summer in their country. :)
There was this cartoon stuck to the window of the coffee area at my client’s office. It’s this boss telling his cleaning lady at work « Vous vous rendez compte que vous me coûtez plus cher que mes informaticiens de New-Delhi » translated as « You realize that you are to me more expensive than my programmers in New-Delhi »! Now, I don’t think they anticipated an Indian seeing that in their office… :)
OK. Now Pramod, keep writing some more Hosur Road stories. You’ve got me hoping that I will have the opportunity to go to Bangalore before the Akshaya tree gets cut.