Genre: Anthology/Short Stories/Satire
Year first published: 2017
Language: English – alcoholic and colloquial
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© 2017 R S Ramanujam
To myself. Seriously!
If you manage to finish reading the story and get out unscathed, I love you.
1. Grade-A slapstick drivel that can either have you in splits or make you split your hair.
2. Grade-A slapstick drivel that can either have you in splits or make you split your hair.
3. Grade-A slapstick drivel that can either have you in splits or make you split your hair.
4. Grade-A slapstick drivel that can either have you in splits or make you split your hair.
You’ve been four-warned.
Yeah. I am gazumped. Not f****d. Not even screwed.
Although I am, I won’t use such language. Why am I using it then? How else would I tell you I won’t use it? But why am I gazumped?
Let’s just say wifus and kidus are away on a day’s vacation at DelMadiLand. Not sure why they would leave me here in DelMadaLand, having to fend for myself. So, no cooked food to eat, no kids to be a father of.
Heck, I can’t tease the TV either. I can only watch it. And what is on it? Rush Hour. God! I am so gazumped, not f*, yeah, I know. You get my drift, right?
Stock taking time. I need to see how to survive till wifus and kidsus get back. Thankfully the area I need to sweep is limited. And I am not stranded on some lonely planet with help a gazillion miles away. But what’s a man without food, just a mile or gazillion miles away from home? Well. No time to rue. I need to act quickly if I have to survive.
The world has trained us to be many in one. I am devout, freak. No, not a devout freak. A devout, a freak and thankfully, a good cook. I can make lentil stew without it boiling and spilling all over the burner. I don’t know if I can afford the luxury of lentil stew now, given I need to survive the cold December winter for the next two days. It is 21° Celsius. Are you asking me if that isn’t good enough? NO, YOU POLAR BEAR, for you it maybe, not for me. I am from Chennai where winters were once coldest at 30° Celsius. If you are wondering how I typed the ‘°’ symbol, I used Alt+248. Yeah. I have a laptop. You’re right. Well enough of useless details. I need to take stock.
[+Food: +]Yes. Well, not exactly. This is what we have. A capsicum, 2 carrots and ginger. Then there is Tea. Dilmah from Sri Lanka. Well other than that, it is all just pickles and rice and pulses. Man! where are the bottles of tamarind paste and Gongura? Nowhere. That’s where they are. Nowhere.
I really need to make sure I have them handy henceforth – if I get out of this situation alive, that is.
What? Are you asking me why I can’t step out and buy something? Are you crazy? These are days of demonetisation. I am out of Cash, the banks themselves are, and the shops won’t accept payment by card unless I shop for over Rs.250. So, you see, I can’t buy a thing. Man, this place is worse than Mars and I am gazumped. I am going to starve to death on a cold day.
Did I say cold? I need to figure out how to generate heat then. Let’s see what we have here. A gas cylinder and a stove. Even assuming the cylinder is full, which is 14.2 KGS of subsidised gas, I can let the stove burn, let’s say based on my poor math, for 3 whole days. That will be good enough for wifus to come back to save me. But that would also mean we would starve as a family after wifus is back and she would kill me anyway. So this is doomed even before starting. Also, that would mean I need to stick to the kitchen and can’t go even to the restroom. And given how cold it is at 21° Celsius and the day only getting close to becoming evening and then night, the water will get colder too.
Ah! Why did I not think of that? The geyser. It will only generate hot water though and I need to stand under it all day. It can’t go on and on forever either. It has, like, a 15-litre capacity that can be heated up in about ten minutes. At a drain rate of 100 ml every minute, it can last 150 minutes. And that is two and a half hours. I have at least 24 hours to go.
I am covered for only like 9.6% of the time. Voila! I don't need piping hot water anyway. All I need is lukewarm water to keep me from getting hypothermia. Let me run some tests here.
I’ve figured out that by mixing 100 ml of warm water with 300 ml of cold water (BRR…) I can make 350 ml (well almost. No science here. But I just spilled some water) of lukewarm water that will help me live. This means my capacity has gone up by 3.5 times. This will keep me going for 525 minutes in the shower, assuming I keep spilling 50 ml of water every time. That is still only 36.4%, but way better than 9.6%. What will I do after that? Let me not worry about too many things. One thing at a time.
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