Monday, June 16, 2014

Inaugural Pressures

It was all about buying a new pressure cooker.

For years, she used an old dabba cooker, like a dedicated steamer, and often ended up waiting for the dal to cook while the rice exulted in victory, in the early morning cooking hours before she left for work.

Now things were close to becoming reality.  The folks who mattered were in agreement. The funding was organized. Sizes were looked at and finalized. The engineering was  analyzed from the safety point of view, after consulting experienced types, who had had harrowing times when the dal and rice had hit the fan and the ceiling.

She wanted a functional, safe  technology, never mind the aesthetics.   Some wanted some colors, and a futuristic look.  Some thought it should cater to the future ,when consumption would increase , and enhanced quantities would be the order of the day.  Some spoke about grabbing a good deal when they saw one,  and they would deal with the future later.

And so they brought it home, one sunny weekend, just before the monsoons set in. The  book that came along waxed eloquent on fancy company names, technologies, international connections, and a set of recipes in a fat book alongside.

The pressure cooker was inaugurated.  

But they forgot to check the diameter of the pressure cooker, vis a vis the placement of burners on the stove. When you started to use the new pressure cooker, you could basically NOT use the closest burner, because  it was too close, and no vessel would fit there.

Then they had problems  with the utensils that went inside the cooker.  The diameter of these was big, and there were problems getting them inside.

So they ended up getting a new burner stove.  In the hoopla of acquiring new things, someone suggested an extra burner in the stove, and so the budget was enhanced to get a new multi burner automatic flame lighting stove.   

While she rummaged amidst her old vessels to see if she could find some to fit in a multiple way inside the cooker,  they laughed and said new vessels were the order of the day.  So three stackable utensils were purchased as a set . You couldn't buy them  piecewise.

So yes. The pressure cooker now works.

Food gets cooked fast, but with the caveat that one steam pressure cooks all.  Some things get overcooked, some get cooked just right; some lose, some win.  The old facility of the dabba cooker where she had no pressure while cooking, and you could check and move things in and out of the cooker, when things had cooked al dente, clearly did not exist now.  And so many vegetables that tended to get overcooked in the new cooker, were now cooked directly with oil and water added later.

Then there is always some maintenance in terms of  rubber rings and seals.  Some guys at the corner do a brisk business in replacement seals and rings.  And never mind if these are authentic technology parts or not.

They, the family ,  have learned to make do.

Like we have learned to make do, ourselves.

Many years ago, it was about observing paths treaded by those before us.  These  paths were created and treaded, based  on many considerations, like  absolute priority need,  ability to keep communication with stake holders alive, minimum disturbance to those around,  environmentally sound technologies,  respect for life, respect for food , great work ethic, and willingness to work hard.

There were no inaugurations, no speeches, but lots of prudence and a sense of pride in what was being tried.  Money was respected, and so, never thrown around. Whether it was yours, or someone else's .

Years and years of treading a tough path by those who went before us,  created roads for us;   and we followed,  mindful of well defined pitfalls with well defined solutions. The option of resurfacing that road because you did not like the layout , did not exist.  

But yes, based on the new traffic situation,  you probably introduced graded progress lanes, and  walking lanes.

Without any stupid inaugurations. 

Bandra Kherwadi inauguration today
Today , we hold up usage of badly needed road infrastructure, because some person who needs to publicise his participation in that venture  does not have the time to come and cut a ribbon.   When he does decide to come, we spend days erecting huge shamianas in the middle of the road, complete with speech podium, public address systems, and 250 plastic chairs.  Another day to dismantle it all.

And lo behold. The new road/flyover/ramp is inaugurated.   Guys in suits fawn around guys in white jhabbas/jackets. Contractors are paid,  new tenders are issued. And life goes on.

Or should I say, the road goes on.

Till at some point the rains expose the pothole technology .   Or sudden caving in of the road surface, clearly ashamed of its inability to bear the weight of its assigned responsibility..   

Once again, new technologies, new machines, new repairs, new bills, new payments, but simply no attention to those who would be traversing those paths.



In the meanwhile,  she is at her wits end, because the cooker handle got banged, it doesn't fit properly, and their is no pressure developing  in the cooker.  She has already changed the gasket  and the  seal, with improvement.

Time for a new cooker.  New technologies. New whistles.

And life goes on........

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