Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Chile Diary Chapter 7

The Segura Home

I’ve given a fair picture of the guesthouse earlier, so I’ll just write a bit about the room and bathroom I use. The room is small with a heavy single bed on one side against the left wall. A foot and a half across from that is a big, heavy wood, bunk-bed against the right wall. Between the beds is a foot wide bedside table. The bunk beds are directly in front of the door, which leaves little space, so if it’s dark and you hurry in you’re sure to bang your head or break your nose against it! I did contemplate putting up a warning sign that read: 'Peligro A 1 ft' then dropped the idea! There’s a wardrobe on the south wall and a big window makes up the north. It offers no view except for a peek into other apartments, if their curtains are drawn apart.

My bathroom is at one end of the tiny corridor into which both bedrooms open onto. It is a 5 and a half foot by 3 and a half foot rectangle. The shower cubicle is a 2 and a half foot by 2 foot rectangle with a shower curtain to lend it some dignity! I’ve yet to have a shower here. In fact after I left the hotel I haven’t had a shower nor washed my hair. My greatest fear is being caught off-guard by an earthquake while I'm in the shower.Yes...not only you think I’m ”YUCKY”, I’m feeling that way too. But hey, I do have a wash.

This place may not be one I’d choose to live in, but this place has provided me with shelter when I needed it. I have to be grateful I wasn’t alone in my sixth level apartment when the tremors and tsunami alert happened. It was easier for me to run out here. I have only three flights of twenty-three steps to climb down. Oh by the way, the other bedroom and bathroom are many degrees better than the ones I’m using. Still I’m glad I have this one. Surprised? Because of the bunk-beds Tintin and Manu come down from their apartment to stay the night, and that’s so comforting. This brings me to the Segura’s house in Miraflores. How I went there and why I went there has already been spoken about. But this is one place that I cannot speak about as only a house; it is a home.

This is a beautiful family comprising mother, two sons, a daughter, two dogs and a cat. And last but not the least is the nana or maid as we would say in India. Roaxanna, the mother, is truly beautiful. By this I mean she is pretty and also has a very large and warm heart. A quality she has imparted to the home and the children. She works as a manager with Avon and is very successful at her job. Gabriel is the elder son and works with Ranjit and Manu at the Chile office. Although I haven’t interacted with him a lot, due to his work schedules, he comes through as large-hearted, thoughtful and hospitable as his mother. Javier, the younger son is doing his engineering in metallurgy. Since his college classes haven’t started yet he’s usually the one at home and he knows a bit of English, so we talk a lot. He’s friendly, caring and warm like the others. I like him. Constanza, is the youngest. She’s in school. I’ve only met her twice and then too for a few minutes. She’s as pretty as her mother. Daniella, Javier’s girlfriend, and I have spent an afternoon together. She’s a lovely girl; very bright, lively and pleasant. She’s studying to be a lawyer. The children here are brought up to be respectful of elders, a lot like it is in India.

This brings us to Mika, the bulldog. She’s one and a half years old, very cute in a bull-dog way and resembles a nicely stuffed bolster. Loves to be petted and is very jealous and demanding of attention. Benjamin (pron:Benkhameen) is a six and a half year old toy poodle. Very cute and exactly as his name suggests, like a toy. Both the canines are friendly and I enjoy them. Martina the cat walks in and out at will. I was surprised by her gestures of friendliness. She gave me a good look before she approached my chair. Then she rubbed herself against my leg, hoisted herself on her hind legs while resting her fore-legs on my thigh, she extended a paw indicating she wanted me to pet her. She left satisfied, a few seconds later making soft purring sounds. I thought it was an odd encounter but she repeated it twice the next day. Since I’m not particularly fond of cats, I figured she must have found me quite feline. Not very complimentary for me, if I express it another way!! The help, I’m told has been a part of the household for about twenty odd years. I can’t communicate with her very well but she takes care of me when I’m alone in the house. A pleasant lady, who reminds me of Lolita, my maid in India, and the way she used to look after me.

The house is big and spread out with a spacious drawing room, done up modestly and tastefully. There is a formal dining area which isn’t used by the family daily. There are three bedrooms on the ground floor and one on the first level all done up well and comfortably. The kitchen is big and also has the dining table where the family eats. There is a patio or covered verandah behind the house. The drawing room opens onto it. The area is a very nice place to sit, either on the garden ‘jhoola’ seat or one of the chairs around a dining table. The garden and lawn covers the rest of the land behind the house. It could be a house in Gurgaon or any other city in India except that it’s built with wood. Reminds me of the houses in hill stations like Shimla, Nainital; especially those colonial ones where the British lived.

This home has given me so much of peace and tranquillity at this time when my nerves are so jangled. I am so privileged to have met these people. Thus I see daily the way God has opened doors for me and has literally carried me when I was faint.

I almost forgot to mention the black-out on Sunday. We witnessed another very unusual thing in the night while we were having dinner. There was a power cut that blacked out almost 90 per cent of Chile. Power cuts per se are unheard of in Chile and this was unimaginable. Initially we were worried that it had something to do with a quake, but immediately realised that if there had been an earthquake we would have certainly felt it. We learnt that there was some problem with the third grid, obviously a major problem. Given our experience of India we were expecting to be without electricity for a day at least. We were proved wrong as power was restored in two hours.

I was happy the cut was timed to coincide with our dinner time or else we could have been caught in the elevator as we left the apartment to go to the guesthouse. Now that would have been frightening. If I had voiced this, Tintin and Manu would have listened with half a ear, taking it to be the wild imaginings of a terrified mind. But as it turned out someone did get stuck in an elevator and had a horrifying twenty minutes!

Mauricio and his mom were in an elevator coming down from the sixteenth floor when the power shut down. They had no idea whatsoever what had happened. The first thought that came to mind was there had been an earthquake. I can imagine what a scary situation it must have been in that dark enclosure, suspended at that height. They began to pound on the door. Somebody finally heard the racket and they were rescued after twenty minutes! When the elevator door was prised open they found themselves suspended between two floors. Getting out was also an ordeal, but they were happy to be able to get out.

PS: I did start having showers in that small shower cubicle a few days later and enjoyed it..LOL!


Peligro A 1ft........Danger at 1 ft

"Jhoola" seat.........A garden swing-seat made of wrought iron.


  1. I am enjoying your stories, It is fun to learn about other cultures in such a way, It also confirms for me that the people (not governments) are very much like me in a lot of ways, to me that is comforting.

  2. Your comment echoes my own thoughts and feelings about people being almost the same all over the world.
    I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. Thank you Marlene.