Monday, May 21, 2012

Taming of the madam

Two year ago we were waiting for our shipment of furniture to arrive in India. A ship somewhere near Mumbai dumped its cargo into the ocean. It was not ours but it caused enough of a wave to cause our shipment to be delayed by a few weeks. After putting all the data in spreadsheets and discussing options it was decided that we would move into the house we had rented and find some rental furniture to tide us through.

So Madam Mallika- still fresh from Seattle – with her high expectations and rolling eyes went with the relocation agent to a rental shop in Russell Market.

Russell Market is an old school Indian market. You can buy literally anything and everything here – fresh veggies, meat, fish, carpets, dishes, hardware, clothes and paraphernalia in little shops tucked in small lanes I have not dared ventured into. It is also one of the dirtiest and trashiest markets around.

Long story short, I was put in the capable hands of Mr Pervez. He must have seen many like this Madam cause he was patient. Very patient as I shook my head in disbelief and horror at the dirty, dusty furniture in the showroom. Dismantled beds and dusty sofas were stacked in multiple floors in a storage building. I could not believe that I had to choose from that mess. I repeatedly asked him if there was anything better. I moaned, I groaned and I grumbled. He let me take my time, promised me that the furniture would be cleaned and polished before it came to me, even conjured up a new mattress that would remain in its plastic cover till it came to my house.  A torturous hour later I resigned and picked up two beds, a dining table, living room furniture and a big TV.  Side tables and a TV stand were thrown in and the whole rental for two months – with delivery, setup and pickup – was under $200. I won’t be surprised or blame him if he added a bit extra for dealing with me.

Last week - two years later - our furniture was packed and shipped off back to US. I landed back in Russell market. I sent my driver off to pick up some fresh fish as I grabbed a few shopping bags and made my way to Adams Furniture Rentals. There was goop on the road and piles of cauliflowers leaves left on the pavement. I navigated them and stopped to take photos of some birds bathing in a pail of water. I met Mr Pervez again. We went to the building of dusty furniture. Ten minutes later I had three beds, a dining table and my couches.  The dining table and chairs were mismatched but I was not buying them or planning to get my kids married on them. Mr Pervez and I chatted about India and US. I told his staff to ensure everything was cleaned and polished. They smiled, I smiled and I paid.

Half an hour later I had posed with a huge necklace, bought two kilo of lychees, enjoyed a tender coconut and was on my way home with some good fish fillet for dinner.

I am not sure if Mr. Pervez cut off a few dollars for my good behavior but I must say I saw him smile as I walked away. Another Madam had been tamed by India.


  1. I have never tried rented furniture, not even bought second-hand, so I can well imagine what it must have been like for you to choose from the stack there.

  2. Very interesting. I couldn't figure why the stuff went back to the US after 2 yrs tho'......... I've been to Russell Market just once, amazing experience! Happy settling:)

  3. Very nice info, returning to the US from India is a different one. India has many things in many places to experience :)