Thursday, March 03, 2005

Fan Club

I look up at the ceiling, and I see three clear stripes of dirt, pointing in divergent directions. The room is exceptionally quiet. The diligent hard disk seems to be making a terrible amount of noise. A small drop of sweat trickles down the oily side of my face, while other beads are ready to emerge. I sigh, and look up again. The three stripes haven't moved. Damn, the world seems so static. Could things get any worse ?

I just realized something. We take the fan for granted (what do you know ! tis the silliest human greviance ever). Look at the poor chap, all grimy and oily. You wash your face at least twice a day (i hope), don't you ? Why can't it get the same treatment ? In the middle ages, there were slaves who were specifically employed to clean those blades. The black slaves would run their fingers on the surface and create beautiful patterns. These one of the first and possibly the last "fan-arts". It is an english word which was delibrately converted to latin as 'faaeen aart' and converted back to english again. This is how the word we know as 'fine-arts' emerged.

I look up to the fan for inspiration again. I see nothing. Yes, as an architect I see 3 spaces emerging from a single enclosed space. The dirt particles inside create tension amongnst themselves (as if the tensions in the world weren't enough already). The black stucco over the blades contrasts with the...As I was saying, as a humanitarian (and if I may introduce the new term - fanitarian), I can't believe people don't relate to this subservient machine that has served us all these years.

As I think real hard, I am able to string together all those moments when the fan gave up on me (The human angle : We all aspire to acquire what we don't have, and fail to appreciate the things we do have - health, family, CD drive, friends). These fan-less moments were usually bundled with a power failure. As a proud Indian, I am sure each one of you has an interesting story to tell. As I think harder, I am able to classify numerous power-less days (or generate differences between them), and conjure this small list :
TENGA - Now thats a funny name ! This is a small cantt area way up in Arunachal Pradesh. This was the class 4th to 6th period. My bully, my mentor, my friend were the same person. The power supply was usually off for almost half the day (the sensible half). In case the power went off without notice, I would happily go out and play a game of stappu with my sister's pals or cricket (in that order of choice).
MHOW - Bang in the middle of Madhya Pradesh, and away from the centre, Mhow is a quiet little town that is a dream posting for Officers as well as their kids. Power cuts here had a twist. We were quite often left with a wimpy voltage that would give a gloomy yellow incandescence. The fans scuffled, and we could do nothing in this electrical coma - the worst fan tale of the four.
NOIDA- All I remember are noisy generators and lots of smoke. The neighbours were unfamiliar civilians and their kids equally strange. Class 10-11th academics gave me additional reasons to sit by myself and either read or gaze at the fan. Soon we ceded and bought a UPS. After that, I have had no power struggles at home.
KHARAGPUR- Abusing the opposite hostel block was the in-thing in first year. Nowadays, we all walk out of our rooms in a trance, like our lifeline has been severed, and wait for salvation. I enjoy the blackout, make life interesting by spotting people by their silhouettes and pursue meaningless discussions.

Is comfort (or discomfort) the only good that fans offered us ? No sir. Let me count a few more. Fans gave us bad advertisments; with false enthusiasm for a simple purchase, couples unexpectedly excited about turning off fans, crowds screaming PSPO, euphoric Dada ji's eduacting their grandchildren under the fans. Fans have also changed the way Kareena Kapoor and sixteen other actors appear on camera (I don't need to explain this, do I ?) - the hair blow, the pallu blow, the rippling shirts and so on.

There are many types of fans - two blade, three blade, four blade, zero blade. While the latter one was speedy and noiseless, it didn't quite take off as a product. The manufacturers chose the number 3 as their standard design feature because TWO is too less and FOUR is too much. This reminds of another architectural concept. You see...
Ah yes, music ! That should divert my mind from this fascinating topic - "arre ruk jaa...Arre tham jaa". Now this is a fine irony. The fan always seemed to create a disturbance. And now that it hangs around idly and I can hear my songs without any hindrance, I'd rather have that noise than this Indian Ocean thing.

Wow ! The fan breaks down for a day, and I get new perspectives of life (The human angle : It is the little incidents of life that change the way you are). Like that day I saw this cow and a dog...

2 comments:

  1. Good One!!
    Aah, yes! Now I know!!!
    You must have really liked "English, August"...

    There's a lot about Ogu staring at his ceiling fan all stoned in that book. The sweat, the arid clime, the boredom, the ugly painting, everything!

    This post read very much like it.

    Yummy... Need to read more entries of your weblog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. English, August is a depressing book about a pervert.. atleast try to be original man.. u suck

    ReplyDelete