Posted on May 14, 2012
House hunting in Calcutta is, in fact, as difficult as it sounds. For us, we..
a)didn’t have car
b) we literally wouldn’t know how to drive if we had one (think of it as, aaron and I know how to tricycle vs. everybody else knows how to drive a car– yah not safe;
c) although there is Craigslist Calcutta ah- ha! it is the most useless search tool in this part of the world
So God knew in advance all of the above and sent us Mr.Teddy. I mean, who doesn’t need a Teddy in Calcutta. Makes my heart warm already.
Teddy loves to tell stories. He is witty, has a friendly and slightly crooked smile and a deep laugh, almost a cough. He makes it through the days by drinking chai and smoking cigarettes–of the last he is not too proud of. He was born in 1949 when polio was pandemic in India so he limps a little when he walks. Teddy knew Mother Teresa personally and said that when Pope John Paul II came to Calcutta, the Pope should have been the one blessed by mother Teresa and not the other way around.
Teddy calls his wife ‘sweetheart,’ his wife and children call him about three times a day while he is driving, oh yes, I almost forgot, Teddy was our driver for a week.
There are thousands of stray dogs in Calcutta most look like Dingos and are quite riled up at night when the temperature drops and they are not as lethargic. Like me, Teddy loves dogs, he says “a dog knows a dog lover,” and “dogs knows to respect when there is no fear in between”. He said: “when I was small boy I was petting a dog that didn’t want to be petted and the dog turned around and bit my face! I got so irritated that I grabbed the dog by the head and bit him back; my father had to come and try make me stop!” he laughs, “see, when I was young I was also a little rebellious.”
Dont you love him already?
Teddy knows the city like he owns it. He gave us a tour neighborhoods we might like to live in and city landmarks. Teddy was able to endure my: “I don’t like the front step of this apartment”. When it comes down to choosing the ‘right’ apartment–I am picky. I am working on it…
After four days of seeing some 20 apartments and having worked with about four different ‘realtors,’ (some apartments were too sketchy, others way too fancy for our own good) Aaron and I finally narrowed our search down to one specific neighborhood; the only problem being, we had already seen all available apartments there too. Ouch.
Teddy and Aaron got the brilliant, and quite organic idea of asking chai vendors and people drinking tea on the streets if they happened to know apartments for lease–we were definitely hitting bottom at this point–thats when it happened. Teddy managed to find 2 guys whom he found at a tea stall to come with us. Too shy to part ways, the two tiny men sat together in the co-pilot seat of Teddy’s car and we drove away to wherever they pointed out to. The first apt they took us to was not great. The second one we had already seen. At the third stop, however, they said: “We 100% you like,” I was hardly convinced. But guess what!? I liked it! I really liked it!
Oh and Teddy was SO happy.
We were all happy.