I learned this the hard way. Manuel arrived back in Delhi one week before me and that seven days proved just to be a tad too long for him to go unsupervised. When we were in Amsterdam, we stopped by the Iittala store where we got 2 temperature resistant glasses for coffee, tea or other very hot beverages. As Manuel had a higher luggage allowance than I did (thanks Swiss Air!) he brought the glasses back. Once back, he decided to make himself a nice hot cup of coffee. But, does he use the heat resistant glasses? No. Does he use the bone china coffee cups? No. Does he use the stone carved cups? No. We have this really nice set of thick purple glasses. Four of them to be exact. The purple glasses are amazing and usually kept in the freezer, waiting to be pulled out and filled with beer. Manuel had other ideas for one of them. Manuel decided to shun the coffee designated dishes for something a bit more colorful. He boiled his milk (he hates coffee made with water) and added the coffee and poured the whole thing into the purple glass. That made the glass very unhappy and so it exploded, sending purple glass and coffee all over the kitchen.
After cleaning that up, he decided to do a bit of redecorating with the speakers from the cinema surround-sound system we have. Keep in mind that we are in a rented flat with rented furniture and have no idea what the place will look like in a month or two, or where anything in the flat will be. Manuel decided that certain speakers should be mounted to the wall. So, he takes some instrument designed to make a hole in the wall (I am a bit to scared to ask what he used) and realizes we do not have a hammer. Does he use a brick? No. Does he use the sole of a shoe? No. He decides to use one of the stone carved mugs we have. A nice set of four bought about 6 months ago at a craft market here in Delhi. We were told it was made from stone and virtually unbreakable. 2 weeks later the handle just popped off the teapot. So we were down one teapot, but had four large mugs, four smaller mugs and a little serving dish in the even we ever felt like serving anything in a civilized and Bree van de Kamp like manner. Manuel, unable to find a hammer or any substitute for a hammer instead grabs one of the large stone mugs and uses that to beat the screw or nail into the wall. About three or four millimeters into the wall, the bigger hole appears in the mug itself which then has to be tossed in the trash. The mission to redecorate abandoned and all we have left to show for it are stone fragments and a small grey hole in a white wall. It almost looks like it would be a peephole in some tit-flashing teen flick. He told me all of this in a low voice on my way from the airport to the house last week.
Last Friday evening on the way home from work, I noticed a huge cloud of smoke rising over the buildings of Lajpat Nagar, the area just across from Defence Colony, where I live. However, as I got closer to the house, I was more able to pinpoint where the fire was. It was not coming from Lajpat Nagar, but from Defence Colony. And then panic hit. The fire wasn’t just anywhere in Defence Colony, it was coming from the area where I live. I phoned Manuel who had just left the house and asked him where the fire was. “What fire?” was all he had to say and so I told him to look up. Then he screamed into the phone “Oh my God, it’s our house!!! Our house is on fire!!!” I screamed back into the phone and then he started laughing.