Sunday, June 28, 2009

lots of gas on cooking gas!

Yesterday, 27th of June 2009 was a D-day of sorts! I brought home a cylinder full of cooking gas! I owe this achievement to my sister Latha who had preserved the cylinder, the regulator my parents had used and also the paper work and to Raji for the advice to 'forget changing' the user's name and address! I am sure Vijay and many more who were very patient to hear about my failed efforts to get a gas cylinder would be both happy and also very relieved!

I was then astounded to see this news item in Deccan Herald today. It said, 'Soon gas cylinder an SMS away'. The news was filed in by a correspondent from Panaji and my immediate reaction was let us move to Goa! Then I saw it was all about vision 2015 plan dreamt by our cabinet minister Murali Deora. There was talk of reaching the rural consumers, use of biometric smart cards to stop leakages(!) and also about the huge govt. subsidy of some 48,300 crore of rupees for the LPG and Kerosene users. There was also a mystifying statement (to me!) about under recovery of 103,292 crores on the sale of petroleum products.

While I wished that 'Hon minister Deora's dreams may come true!', I thought it is a good time to blog on the trauma I underwent trying to register and receive a cylinder with 16.2 kg of cooking gas and install it our kitchen.

Since my move to Bangkok I had forgotten all about the excitement of getting a gas cylinder delivered home and the sense achievement a new home builder experiences on getting a gas connection. In Bangkok our maid Kuhn Nari would walk down to inform the handy man of the apartment and he would immediately replace the empty cylinder with a full one and that was that!

The first time I had a gas connection in Pune, I remember the advice the dealer gave, not only about the safety aspects, but also of the need to keep the paperwork safe. I was given a consumer number and all I had to do was to call them when I needed a cylinder delivered. In my case the dealer was nearby and I went personally and register. As you can guess, the cylinder never came on time. But those days we could go and collect a cylinder from the depot.(Not permitted now!) We then got smarter and booked for an additional cylinder, which we got after a couple of reminders and we were all set for a blissful wedded life with breakfast, lunch and dinner guaranteed!

With all the hype about how easy things were in India now, I assumed that all I had to do was to go and register and thus ensure a steady supply of gas. I spoke to Latha about my plans and she said that she had saved the regulator for me and got the cylinder back from another cousin and I guessed that I was all set and I guessed wrong.

When I approached the dealer in April 2009, the receptionist told me to do the following: make an affidavit on a stamp paper proving my relationship to my parents, attach their death certificates and a no objection letter by my sisters. The affidavit had to be duly signed by me in front of a magistrate or a notary public. And as I did not have the first original receipt given by the company, I had to make another affidavit indemnifying them from something or other on a 15 rupees stamp paper (not available any more, but a 20 rupees one would work!). I also needed as a proof of my residence, only through a ration card and none other. (By the way no rations would be issued, which again is on a subsidy!)

Taking Raji's cue, I went to the dealer and spoke to the receptionist again and said that we needed supply to be started again as we had returned from an other place! Luckily for me the manager saw me and spoke to me this time and things went smoothly after this. I just had to write a letter on behalf of my father asking the dealer to reactivate the account as we had returned and I got my cylinder the next day! ( Always go to the decision maker!)

This is not all, I must also coordinate with the watchman and the tenant of the apartment where my parents lived to continue this system. I also learn that we are allowed only one cylinder per month and we must book only after 20 days from the date of receiving a cylinder. They keep track of issues made very well, so it better be 20 plus days before one books for the next cylinder! The reason being that many misuse these cylinders by using them to run their cars on gas meant for cooking.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The keys of the 'Queendom'

I think I read 'keys of the kingdom' ages ago. This story has no connection to that!

People who know Tara well will enjoy this. Tara I would say was like the royalty, she never carried a purse, if she could manage it and never stuck a bunch of keys to the dhabu in her lifetime so far. (Dhabu is the silverware which brides were expected to wear around their waist, I don't think she even has one. Frankly, she is now in desperate need for one! She has too many keys to manage to her liking! There are three for our apartment (We reduced it from four!) and three more for the second floor one, which we are now occupying till we sort out our possessions and reduce it to fit into our apartment!

In Bangkok she managed to walk out without a key as the maid was there during the week and during the weekend she depended on me as the bearer of the keys. She had one key for our cabinet which she used to hide in different places rather than carry it with her. I do not know what happened to the duplicate!

I liked the comment Gayathri made when she found our front door locked when she came to visit us after our luggage had been removed by the packers. She wondered about the logic of locked doors when the apartment was empty while she never found it locked when it was full of stuff!

Pune was no different, she was lucky that the bai was living just next door most of our stay and she had a key, or it would be our next door neighbours who would keep a key for her. Of course, there was a house key attached to the car keys. What I do remember is the number of duplicate keys I had to make!

Raji who knows more about the lost keys Pune than I do, will probably comment on this story and say; wait for a while, she will find a way!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

matter of mattresses!

Hi Aditi I liked your comment on the Internet cafe. I am enjoying the noise that is generated and often offices are run here by the users. Sometime it is funny when, probably a sales guy has no answers to the queries, which we do not hear, but he is constantly referring to a colleague for answers! Easier if the other person directly dealt with the customer! The other day the girl next to me was sounding very lovey dovey over the net in Malayalam and a pity I could not understand. Could have been a fun blog if I could eavesdrop! Today it was two irritating college girls chattering loudly and I almost said Shhhh...!

Anyway coming to the subject of this blog, we had taken a survey of things available in Bengaluru and decided that we will not bring in a refrigerator, a washing machine and a sofa set from Bangkok. Matter of mattress was debated and was not conclusive! We had used the same mattress for 21 years in Bangkok and were very happy with it. It was firm and supported us well! We seriously thought of purchasing the latest model from the same company from Bangkok, but when we were in Bengaluru in April we saw a mattress made by Kurlon and Tara liked it when she tried it. The mattress is a sandwich of spring, coir and and what they claimed was a foam with a memory!

As I blog I am trying to remember the name of the mattress without success ( I think it is Anamica!) and even the Kurlon website does not mention it in their list of products! Anyway we have been using it for a few days and are quite happy with it, It took some getting used to, before we could sleep comfortably.

I remember that the first night I had this eerie feeling that some one or something was hugging me however slightly. I was used to a support in a single plane of contact the last 21 years and here I was being supported as in a partially contoured mould made in the shape of my back!

I turned to my side and after a while the I had the same feeling on my arms and shoulder. I feel OK now but one may not be comfortable if one does not sleep in a cool room!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Occupying our 'vacated' apartment

We hoped that our apartment would be ready for occupation when we arrived as we had made an earlier trip to ensure that necessary repairs to the plumbing, wiring, painting and cupboards etc were done before we arrived! Contractors were selected and a go ahead was given but that it was not ready when we arrived is an other story!

Luckily the painting was almost done and we hence decided to occupy the apartment. It was not that simple as we were told that we should boil milk to overflowing at the apartment before we thought of sleeping there! Then Tara thought we should have a 'punyarchana' as well.

Easy enough task except that we did not have a stove to boil the milk over. Getting a gas cylinder is another long story and will probably be written two months later when we hope to get gas organised.

Then appa (Tara's father) said it should be done at the right day and at the right moment to enjoy the full benefit of the ritual. His tone said that we may even get into problems if we did not. He however was not sure which day or time it should be. I and my sister felt any day is ok for this and Raji felt any Friday should be ok.

Luckily there is a temple close by and Tara went and spoke to the priest at the temple and it was all set for the 18th of June. The maid's father loaned us a kerosene stove the night before. And we had the pooja early in the morning and we did sleep at the apartment that night. We had received the cots on that day sans the mattress, but we managed by borrowing a thin mattress from downstairs!

All this is pretty routine stuff for a Bengalurean. I however had planned but failed to ask the priest 'Why is it necessary that we boil milk?'. The question is now open to public!

My guess is that in those days, a move was not easy and it was essential that one stayed close to a milkman for obvious reasons. (Unless of course you owned a cow.) Milk for the morning coffee obviuosly being the major reason. Then of course, there would be small kids and so on. Hence it was paramount that one established a source of milk supply and probably firewood as well, before one made a move to new location. Remember the days were before we had a fridge and milk supply in plastic sachets!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

as I fly into bengaluru!

I thought let me start writing when my memory is still fresh! This is busy times in the internet cafe. There are two computers in my booth. We share a bench and today there is a family of 3 at the other computer, so I am a little cramped as the son is on the net on behalf of the parents! There is also a lot of discussions and the laguage is probably Rajasthani! Not the right atmosphere for any inspired blogging!

Two things happened which I think I should record: One was that the steward just vanished with a 'wait a minute', when I asked him for a blanket! This is the second time that I have been unhappy with the Thai stewards. Last time it was ruder fellow who directed me to a toilet at the other end of our enclosure, while the Business class toilet was just one step away and he was not nice about it. I looked for 'reserved for business class only' sign and did not see any such sign. Luckily Thai girls are nicer and one of them went into the Business class area and got me a blanket. Business class blankets are as I am sure you would guess nicer and larger, so Tara and I could comfortably share it!

The other incident gave me some kind of malicious satisfaction. There was this very smartly dressed girl who sort of pushed thru all of us as we waited for the doors to open after landing at the Bengaluru airport. We all know how agressive we need to be once we reach our beloved homeland. She was really agressive as she brushed past us. I wished, not really worth a prayer, that her luggage would come last! I realised that my wish was granted when I saw her waiting, flopped on the trolley frustration writ all over her face! I wanted to go and tell her serves you right but desisted!

I suppose I should stop as the discussions are happening all over the cafe, there is now one very vocal tamil and as I can understand her I cannot concentrate anymore!