I now officially cook for myself in Mysore. I have spent three visits being a slacker about cooking, but this time it’s different. First order of business: turn on the Tank of Doom. When I turn the valve to open the gas, it makes a little *snick* sound, like the contents are under great pressure. Reassuring.

Then I light the burner using a little tool that strikes a spark. I expect that the tank and the spark tool will star in future nightmares.

The results of all this drama are good, though: rice and cashews cooked in coconut oil and turmeric. Can’t complain.

Next up: housekeeping. The maids come on Tuesday and Thursday. In my bedroom, two twin beds are pushed together. I sleep in just one of them, which is evident to the maids, and they ask if they should just replace the linens on the one I sleep in. Yes, I say. 

Now, there’s a great mystery about Indian maids and bed-making. They put down a bottom sheet, then put a blanket on that, and then a sheet on top of that. So when you get into the bed, the blanket is on the inside and the sheet is on the outside. Which means I always remake the bed to switch it back to the western way. The maids giggled at my blanket-on-the-outside bed, and then changed the linens. This is the result:

So as soon as they leave, I have to remake the bed. As I pull up the linens, I discover the dreaded short-sheet surprise:

Yes, not all sheets are long enough to actually cover the foot of the bed. Sigh. I carry on with my housekeeping:

They will laugh at this and put it back the other way on Tuesday.

Next time: the incredible freedom of Indian color-matching, and the lady in the ironing booth.