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Hand Pump - Memories Black And White

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Agatha83, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    In my apartment, I have witnessed many Deepavalis replete with deafening 1000 wallahs, 10,000 wallahs and atom bombs that gave frequent heart attacks for all of us — it was fun for the giggling teenage pranksters in our apartment complex and hell for the peace loving inmates.

    But have you ever witnessed fireworks between human species with sound decibels that will put even the thousand wallahs to shame. Welcome to my abode!

    Having been a long-time resident of an apartment complex, I was privileged to witness many a tiny squabble, getting magnified to a full fledged war between the residents, flavored and spiced up with the exchange of filthiest expletives that could turn away even the nasty smelling Cooum river — our pride of Chennai.

    The reason for such treacherous fireworks between residents ranged from being from the silliest one like a ball of hair thrown right in front of one’s doorsteps, to water dripping from wet clothes hung from the clothes line of the balcony of the upper floor, drenching the dried ones on the lower balcony. Then there were some “pushy” type of residents whose only goal in life was to push all that was in front of their door, rangoli powder, the sticky mud, dirty water, etc , not into the garbage bin, but just next to the opposite door of the apartment. The serious offenses was more damaging, like breaking of glass panes of windows due to the hard hitting 4s and sixes of the aspiring Dhonis and Tendulkars, the young cricket crazy fans of our apartment complex, the cracking of side view mirrors, cutting off cushion seats of two wheelers parked inside the complex- the unending conflicts would indeed pale before the Indo Pak war.

    Most of the exciting drama would begin in the middle of a lazy Sunday afternoon, a time when many inmate would indulge in a comfortable snooze after a heavy lunch.

    Our apartment complex had a bunch of brats sporting Gucci shoes, Rayban glasses, a hitech motorbike to boast off and shah rukh Khan look alike hair styles- dressed to kill, but utterly bored, zooming in and out of the complex a thousand times in a day. The Sunday noon became their favourite day to practice cricket, right in the narrow passage in front of the apartment which turned into a Oval cricket ground, sorry battle ground. More than the balls thrown across, it was the unpalatable language of the gaalis they gave among themselves, which was utterly shocking. But suddenly , when the crescendo reached a pitch with battle cries of a six, then sure it was followed by a loud shattering of glass- somebody’s windowpane was broken and that was the end to the grand cricket T20. The entire gang would vanish from the scene, leaving the affected party seething with anger and clueless about the identity of the actual culprit.

    What followed was a lengthy circular from the President of the association, with a stern order asking all the residents to be be present for the meeting to be convened on a Sunday. The dull circular itself turned into a piece of interesting material, quite hilarious, due to the various attachments from the inmates, In illegible hand writing, written on papers torn from their kids notebooks, pouring out the problems they faced in their own house, right from a leaky bathroom to cracks in their balcony, all written replete with syntax errors and grammatical mistakes- no need for a PGW or a Vadivelu comedy.

    On the day of the meeting, only a few members preferred to attend the meeting and even those who attended, walked in like raging bulls entering the bullring, and what with their lungis folded up, and sporting a look of the yesteryears villain Nambiar. it was the hapless President who was left alone to tame these crazy bulls.

    The meeting was a free for all mela, where not a single member would come forward to accept the incident caused by their wards. Words would fly, tempers soar and with each member folding their lungis higher, as if readying for a tug of war, the entire place looked like a gully fight- only the swords were not drawn. Those keeping calm amid the pandemonium had to to be careful about those panparagh chewing members, since many times the spicy conversations was peppered with a spray of betel juice.

    The female species not to be outdone than their male species, went one step ahead, when it came to fights between apartment members. The battle ground was the poor hand pump where piped water came with hiccups. Residents of the ground floor would cover the entire space surrounding the pump with huge buckets and hit the pump non stop for hours, not giving space for others. Some even brought their dirty linen to be washed then and there itself. This led to a serious conflict and very soon a fight erupted. The middle aged damsels pulled up their sarees above their thighs, pallu tied up tightly, and hit the opponent with a string of abuses, one which would make even the fish market smell better. When latecomers like me intent on avoiding such head on collisions, came to get our fill, what we got was not the water, but the handle, the nuts and bolts of the poor hand pump.

    Thus this “Tu Tu Mein Mein” went on for years together, with no end in sight. But finally I got relief when we shifted to a new house, calm and quiet where only birds and bees talked. But wait- every day early morning even before the crows cawed, there was this suprapatham of “lodak lodak” sound coming from, behind my bed, giving me a feel of someone hitting right on my head, waking me up from my deep slumber! Guess what! It was a hand pump installed next to my bedroom, the only thing dividing me and the hand pump - a common wall! Call it Dejavu!!
     
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  2. Mistt

    Mistt IL Hall of Fame

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    Agatha ma'am,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your vivid description on your black and white memories which happened when you were staying in an apartment. I liked your humorous style of narration. I smiled many times while reading and imagining those scenes in mind :grinning:. Thank you!
     
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  3. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Agatha,

    Enjoyed your narration as always. So, you don't need an alarm any more eh? All I could think of was "ouch" when I read your concluding paragraph. Hopefully you will figure out a solution to this so that you can actually wake up to those birds chirping :)

    Having grown up/ stayed only in independent houses all my life, it was really fascinating for me to read this. These days of course I have a lot of friends who live in these complexes and all I hear is the self contained township with in the high walls that they immensely enjoy. But, I am also glad to hear that once that "lodak, lodak" stops, it is only the birds and bees talk that you hear. Enjoy your paradise.

    You are such an awesome writer - love reading you!
     
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  4. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    Enjoyed reading your experience staying in an apartment. You are a great writer and every post of yours should be nominated
    You are always winner
     
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  5. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Mistt,

    Nice of you for having complimented my style of writing. In these corona times, when everybody is under mental stress and depression, I thought a doze of humor could drive away the negative emotions. I am happy if I am successful in my mission.Thank you indeed for your first appreciative comment.

    Agatha83
     
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  6. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Srama

    Having born and lived most of my life in Chennai, one thing that was a constant companion, wherever I went was this hand pump. If you are a chennaivasi, you must be prepared for weight lifting, because there were always times when the taps went dry and one had to run after a tanker Lorry to fetch water. In the apartment, most of my evening walks coincided with a water fetching ritual, where I carried a bucket along with me and barged in to any house that allowed outsiders to take water from their hand pump.

    Moved over to better times, and now I get piped water 24 hours due to God’s grace. People who have hand pumps are owners of their house, and I see no chance of getting away from this ‘lodak lodak’ noise. Instead of a sound sleep, I now have a lodak lodak sleep!!

    Agatha83
     
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  7. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @iyerviji,

    Thanks for your heartfelt appreciation and compliments. “Ella pugazhum Iraivanukke”-AR Rehman.

    Agatha83
     
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  8. Mistt

    Mistt IL Hall of Fame

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    Agatha ma'am,
    I appreciate your kind thought of distract depressed minds with your humor blog in this current crisis. Yes, you achieved your goal. Thanks again!
     
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  9. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Mistt,

    Like many others all over the world, I am also depressed looking at scores of people dying just like that. Here in India it’s depressing to see scores of migrants dying, fighting starvation, hunger and poverty. So to calm down my nerves I took up to writing- a result this post. Thanks for your nice feed back.

    Agatha83
     
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  10. Mithila48

    Mithila48 New IL'ite

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    Dear Agatha maam,
    your writing of your apartment days spent was beautifully described taking us back to the old memories. At present I am living in an independent house but your story is like watching a movie reflecting our experiences with the same problems. It relates to most of the apartment residents who face similar problems and create problems giving us an impression that all humans are alike. The incidents shared makes us laugh and tug at your heart and enables empathy. I am inspired and wanted to share one such incident happened in my life but not exactly in this context.

    Hand pumps were set up in each colony to offset shortage of water supplied by pipeline.when it was installed I was still young and all children were excited to pump down the water. Esp to help my mom wash clothes early in the morning when none queued up we would finish our work of washing clothes and return home. Thank you ma’am you really taken me back to old memories.
    One day we received an invitation for marriage. It so happened on that day I took to cleaning our book shelves and dust the house. As I was removing all old newspapers and unwanted stuff the wedding invitation too was bundled up in the scrap. I just glimpsed through it and thought my father might have seen it and went to throw the scrap in the common dustbin ( those days there was no house to house collection of rubbish)lying near to hand pump. Evening my father returned and my father was looking for the same invitation. I told him I had cleaned up the clutter and by chance must have gone in the waste. So my father reprimanded me and asked me to go and search in the dust bin. So I went to search but in vain it was futile exercise ...after sometime spent near the borewell( hand pump) and returned home. So this hand pump brought me back old memories.
     
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