Having moved into a comfortable apartment almost half a year back, I had snuggled cosily into the laziness that comes hand in hand with the luxury of being in a place like this and not having a regular job. All errands including necessary ones like getting the electrical repairs for the house done remained pending, until today that is. Repeated visits by the electrician provided by my apartment association led me to the local electrical supplies shop a zillion times.
Bulbs. What use are these bulbs without new holders. Holders. How will you fix them on the wall without chakapiece (don’t ask!). Switch. How will it work without new wires. Actually the wires are fine. You need a new fan… And so on until well prepared with a list of everything I could think of, vetted by my electrician I went for the final time to the shop and procured everything I needed.
So today, unhampered by the relatively sad news I received this morning, I set about getting the repairs done. Telephone, fixed. Done. Carpentery work, done. Electrician… Aah the bane of my existence.
11am after repeated calls to the maintenance office, the dude arrives, waistbelt in place and looking mighty happy with life in general. He rants off a list of things he remembers from the previous visit and when I say I have all of them, he looks impressed. He then procures a ladder that almost breaks the one functional light in my living room, climbs up and starts to dismantle the lampshade and fix the multitude of things he asked for. Wires, chakapiece, holder, cover, light… And then he asks for the screws. SCREWS! The one thing I did not think of. I let out a sigh of exasperation. The dude gives me a look of pity and says, “Dont worry madam. I will get.” And then he rants off in the local tongue something about the association office. Exhilarated with the dude on the ladder swooping to my rescue much like a knight atop his horse, I danced with joy. Seeing the expression on the dude, I quickly regained my composure and asked if I need to call the association office and tell or ask them for the screws?
With a quick bounce he was on the floor yelling repeatedly in the local tongue again. When he saw my bewildered expression, he took a deep breath to relax himself and said…”Screw. Secret.”
Aah! So he would secretly procure the required screws and save me all hassle. My hero!
He then returned to fixing the other problems and reached an impasse. The switch was working fine. The wiring was ok too. Must be the regulator. “Need new regulator” He yelled with the same excitement that Archimedes had when he finally took a bath. Judging by my expression, the dude decided he better make the fan work before crazy lady screams… or worse, dances. So he fixed it directly to the switch and told me NOT to use it unless during an emergency.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what constituted as a fan emergency. I understand our generation’s obsession with gadgets and luxuries. But would we really ever be in a situation where we just HAD to have the second fan in the room on? Or is it for a quick cooling down while wearing my shoes to step out? The 30 secs my lift takes to reach the ground floor also instigates me to switch the lift fan on. Why? When did we get this way? Is nothing ever enough? Or are we restless enough to need to do something or have movement around us all the time? I remember a time when I was a kid growing up in kerala and during the scheduled power cuts in peak summer, we used to sit outside on the veranda enjoying the evening breeze and lightly fanning ourselves. Have those days of simplicity vanished along with the feeling of communism?
Sigh! With my fan on full and the radio blaring music, I now sit and ponder. What a switch.
Secret switches and fan emergencies. We learn something new everyday!