Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning plumbing

'I tried to change my eating style once', I told Mian in the middle of a mini-breakdown in the kitchen. 'I tried to do everything at once- low carb, raw, frugal- and I couldn't. I cannot handle too many variables at once. I could possibly stick to any one rule, but not all'. The bewildered and slightly worried look on his face reminded me that I was talking to a guy. Metaphors are not delicately coloured illustrations of life, they are mine-fields. 

'I can cook without a stove' I translated. 'and I can cook without water. But I can't do both.'

And that is the gist of our lives the past week.

Our beautiful, beautiful house took a battering in the monsoon, and began to fall apart. And the rats had gotten to an unmanageable point. So when A visited, looked at the place, and suggested rebuilding the house, we agreed happily. And yes, I am glad to be free of rats (almost..we still have a visitor), am glad to have a house that's easy to clean..but I do miss the old one.

Our gas cylinder sputtered out on the day of the move..and when we got here, we trusted in the pipeline and cleaned out the water tank.

The next day, we realised that a) for various reasons, we cannot get a new cylinder for the next 12 months and b) the pipeline- like Bertie Wooster's head- is more for ornament than use.

The food issue is okay- lots of roasts and breads and stews. Our solar oven and the electric one mean that the only thing I cant do is saute, and we can live without that. The water however, is another issue. I have no idea how we managed for the last few days, but now as I sit and write, I hear the sweet tinkle of water pouring into the tank.

And I learnt one very important, but saddening thing today. I wasted the first three years of my professional life BS-ing a lot of people. See, I worked for a plumbing consultancy, and my job was developing specifications for every teeny-weeny bit of the system. I had drawings and specs for the distances between pipes, and the way they are to be laid, for angles and curves, for thicknesses and weights. If I were to turn a pipe to the left, then down a wall, and along the floor, the drawings would have included one long bend, one elbow, one thrust block and umpteen spacers.

Not one of those specifications included bending a pipe by wrapping it around a tree. The humbling realization? It works. It might worry Shona, but  it works.

1 comment:

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