My number is 582. Which means, my turn comes after the first 581 are served by Saral Gas. The dude who part-times there tells me so. I briefly think about how he would react if I’m to offer him a little under-the-table cash. Don’t blame me for having such anti-brastachari lai kira paros thoughts, for I just arrived from India.
The buzz around Anna Hazare in that country will have you believe that people wake up with grafts and go to bed with bribery. No but truly, millions who swear by his name possibly cannot be wrong. Good luck, India!
Considering I have a backup of 1.5 cylinders, I think I fare much better than most people. And I live alone so I can probably go on and on like the Energizer bunny until at least the next change in government in Nepal.
To stash another cylinder in my kitchen is not why I’ve come to Saral Gas in Purano Baneshwore this evening.
My gas-stove is refusing to ignite and I need help hence I make the 10 minutes walk to Saral Gas’s shutters. The part-timer tells me he will show up at my door one of these days and take a look at it.
I don’t carry the stove to Saral’s shutters because I can’t separate the stove from the ‘gas-pipe’ that runs from the stove to the cylinder. He tells me it’s a tricky little snap. I try again, after I get home, and fail again to snap the thing off.
No electricity means that I can’t make any coffee either after I get home. There’s no gasoline in the motorbike also – not that I would’ve ridden it anywhere had it had a tank-full but you know, just saying.
I’m getting a bit tired of Just Baked’s as well as Tandoori Chicken Corner’s menu. Another option is Momos & More – they make good soups. Yet another option is Baje Ko Sekuwa in that well-done-from-an-architectural-standpoint edifice in Battisputali. BKS’s daal-bhaat-tarkaari on a plate combo isn’t too bad either.
I go with Momos & More.
The guy who’s always there greets me. He’s like the manager-slash-head-waiter. He asks me how my wedding went. I ask him how he got the idea that I had (recently – as per his understanding) attended my wedding.
He says he overheard me and my friends making jokes about life after marriage last time I was here and had assumed that I was the one who was getting married. I tell him that it was the other stammering guy – the doctor – and not me, that had gotten hitched. I add I will come to M&M to personally invite him if that day is to come.
I ask him which soups are available today. He says none and for that matter, he continues, he has no more food items to serve me or anyone else today. Pointing towards a loud table inside, he tells me they consumed every last whiff off the last gas cylinder they had. I stare towards them with fury.
Bu what’s he going to do now?
His eyes widen, his brows furrow, his lower lips stretch out but his upper lips retain their natural position, his shoulders rise up near the ears, his hands for the shortest second take upon a Bharat Natyam-like Mudra but proceed towards a more captivating ‘key ho?’-like gesture symmetrically – and thus, ladies and gents, he orchestrates a shrug. Khoi khoi! He says they’ll have to close tomorrow if they cannot appropriate gas-cylinders.
I’m demoralized. I’m angrier .. at The Man. Say what you will, the scarcity of basic needs is just inexcusable! Is it that difficult in this day and age to get some gas and some gasoline and some electricity and some water and some sanity? I kind of want to burn off some pent-up vent.
I walk across the street towards Daju-Bhai and get myself Snickers and Lays for dinner.