Monday, July 12, 2010

D - 49

An attractive perk of working in the Government is the residential quarters. In metros getting a decent house on rent within the House Rent Allowance is like catching the Don - mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai. Where in Hyderabad would I get a three bedroom house for Rs 6000? Often, the location of the quarters in upmarket areas, like Banjara Hills in Hyderabad, makes the deal more lucrative. So the first thing I did after joining at Hyderabad was to apply for a residential quarters. Thankfully, there were so many vacancies that I was given a list of vacant quarters to choose from.

I was told that I was entitled to a three bedroom house. When I entered, I found that all the rooms were of the same size. Small. It took me some time to grasp the functional utility of each room. After a careful examination, deep ponder and a silent sigh, I realized that the differentiation factor was the shelves. With some imaginative application of inductive logic, I deciphered the functional utility of each room. If the shelves are open, it is the living room. If the shelves have doors, it is a bedroom. If the shelves don’t have doors but have an adjoining sink, it is a kitchen. If there are no shelves, it is a bathroom.

Talking about the shelves, I must say that they are the biggest eyesore of the house. They have those sad unpolished black stone slabs which reminds you of a black leather shoe whose surface is dotted with fungus due prolonged disuse. Even if you decide to build a door to close them, you can’t. That is because the shelves are located in such strategic corners that there is no support for the hinges of the proposed doors. Just one look at them, you would realize how right Einstein was when he said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Einstein reminded me to check the incubator of ideas and the birthplace of Eureka – the bathrooms. The attached bath has pipelines for water heater but no electrical lines; just like having irrigation canals without dams. The common bath, by an act of providence, has both the pipelines and electrical lines for a water heater. So like Jack and Jill, the couples who stay there, should daily fetch a pail of water and, consequently, one day fall down and break their crowns. There were two pipelines, an inlet and an outlet, protruding out from the wall of the common bath, which happens to adjoin the dining area. The caretaker informed me that I could use the provision either to fix a wash basin (which, I had to bring and I have no clue what I would do with it if I vacate the place) or a washing machine. I imagined my guests watching my undergarments churn inside the washing machine while their food undergoes a similar process inside their stomachs. Not a very appetizing sight.

The windows were an architectural atavism. Unlike the contemporary windows which have a steel grill fitted within a wooden frame, these windows have a steel frame which is embedded in the walls. May be it was the architectural expression of the metaphor that the bureaucracy is the steel frame of the nation. Not that I have problem with their artistic liberties. But, if I have to tinker with the window to fit my window air-conditioner, I would have to break the wall. Something that is difficult to undo when I vacate the place.

All windows have plain glass. I guess the message is transparency, like charity, begins at home. Since the house is on the ground floor, I would be forced to draw the curtains during the day to protect my modesty, lest there would be initiation of disciplinary proceedings for behavior unbecoming of an officer and penal proceedings under section 292 of the IPC for obscenity.

The whole design made me wonder if there was an ingenious engineering mind that applied undue diligence to ensure that every provision would be available but none of them can be utilized. Or is it just the native intelligence of an engineering department whose designing skills are molded by rules, laws, bye-laws and budget than science, common sense and ergonomics.

Sufficiently scared for the day, I decided to immediately call off further inspection of the house. I asked the caretaker to get it painted as a coat of paint is complimentary for the new incumbent. The choice of shade, like with your parents, boss, kids and 432,345,958 other things in life, does not lie with you. Nine upon ten occupants subsequently regret availing the service and conclude that they could have spent money from their pockets to get their homes painted.

It took me a week to arrive at the same conclusion. The painter, with a maniacal sense of duty, went ahead painting the whole house. In the process, he forgot to remove the keys of the wardrobe before painting it. The result? Upon drying, the paint transformed itself into an incredible adhesive. I can lock and unlock my wardrobe but cannot take the keys out. The wardrobes were the only utilities that were well-placed and adequately functional. Now that they have joined the bandwagon of dysfunctionals, the house is ready to be occupied.

Welcome to D-49, Income Tax Colony, Road No: 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.


Anonymous said...

Loved your post.Infact I enjoy all your posts.I'am leaving a comment because I'am worried that the readers are not making any note of gratitude after you making the readers laugh.

Cosmic Voices said...

@ Anon

Thanks !!!

Pilani Pictures said...

Really hilarious boss!!! One of your all-time bests!

Cosmic Voices said...

Thanks !!!

P4P4B34R said...

Dude back to Hyderabad ? Nice!!! Where are you working now? - Sesh

Cosmic Voices said...

In the same department where I was previously working..

Srujan said...

So finally back to Hyd!!! Nice post n hilarious!!I really loved the Shoe episode...Keep going!

Anonymous said...

thala wonderfull post , better u can quit the service ,start writing stories.

Sriram said...

Real good read as always :)
Keep them coming..

Hope you are getting used to the new habitat.

Sameera said...

i love ur blog and i agree with anon...we want u to write more

funny post! we will be dropping by soon :D

Unaccustomed Mirth said...

anti- CPWD snob :P

Cosmic Voices said...

@ Unaccustomed Mirth
I know you are a big fan of CPWD. You have stayed all your life under their roof so can understand where it is coming from. :P