My mum tried on my sunglasses. I showed her this picture immediately afterwards but she could not understand that it was her.

My mum tried on my sunglasses. I showed her this picture immediately afterwards but she could not understand that it was her.

I wasn’t overly keen on coming to India this week, if I’m honest. MsDD is going back to school to spend the last few weeks before the start of her GCSEs revising as furiously as she can and I would prefer to be there for her when she comes home in the evening.

Worse, though, my OH has been trading through his latest work-related crisis since Christmas, which seems to be coming to a head now. This is one of the horrid and major things that I can’t really talk about although I wish fervently that I could write it all down for some catharsis. Things at home are truly horrible, the huge cost of our recent extension complicates matters and the looming shadow of another possible expatriate stint – not for a while if it happens at all, and ye one must start making plans a long time in advance – is falling over me. You can see why, though it occupies most of my waking thoughts, I haven’t really been able to use this blog as a way of ordering how I feel about it all. There are so many things that I want to write, that I need to write, that cannot be written.

I’ve had a horrid fluey virus for the past couple of weeks too and it’s clear that I haven’t fully shaken that off yet. I’m still exhausted and my chest is tight and I only hope that I can breathe properly to sing the Brahms German Requiem in Neuwied, Germany over the next Bank Holiday weekend.

Anyway, enough of that.

I’m here now and we’re in the middle of a 40° heatwave and one of the first pictures that greeted me today on BBC World was of the Duchess of Cambridge playing beach cricket with willing urchins on the Mumbai Chowpatty IN WEDGE HEELS. Now, I know she’s a sporty type but wedge heels on a beach? What is she on?

Last time I came to see my mum, it was clear that her brain had faded a little since my previous visit. She needed to be reminded who I was on more than one occasion and I approached her dayroom with some trepidation after my arrival late this afternoon. I think it’s fair to say that she recognised my face but my actual identity wasn’t completely clear to her.

Nonetheless we chatted and exchanged pleasantries in our limited way for a while and she seemed pleased to have a visitor. When I popped in to see them before the arrival of their supper, the old ladies had the colourful Duple I brought last time from the UK on the table and were occupying themselves building towers and landscapes through which the Duplo animals, and another tropical set from the Early Learning Centre roamed without a care in the world. I’m not quite sure how the polar bear became part of the Duplo set, but there he was on top of a colourful brick tower, lording it over the tigers and lions, and the wolf that howled to wish him well.

The scene in that dayroom changes little between my visits but disturbing the usually contented air today was a youngish-looking man in a wheelchair. From the way his arms were trembling, I presumed that he had Parkinson’s Disease but he seems barely older than me. Poor thing. Today is his first day here and he is disorientated and discombobulated and really upset, bursting out at intervals into uncontrolled sobbing, which is quite shocking to witness in a man here.

Apparently, he is from Assam and cannot speak or understand Marathi. He understands a little Hindi and English but I rather doubt whether he can see past his anguish at the moment. The kind, compassionate staff are doing their best here, and he will be fine once he settles in but I felt so bad for him, I wonder whether he knows what he’s doing here.

The Sister in Charge seems a little prickly at the moment. The departing spouse of a previous inmate has rankled her by telling her that care is so much better in the US or the UK. I honestly don’t think it can be, though. The dramatic improvement in my mother’s physical health – she can even hear what people are saying, when she chooses – is testament to their tenderness. No matter how many times I say that to them, it won’t be enough but few days go by when I’m not filled with gratitude to them and my good fortune in having the brainwave that resulted in bringing my mum here. After two years here she looks healthier now than she did for over a decade in the UK.