Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fighting For That Last Drop.

It was late by the time I got back from the lab. The cell cultures that I was transforming had somehow taken a lot of time and I had to grab a bite before I headed for the library. As usual, I had missed lunch. Not having a lot of time to cook, yet hungry enough to eat an elephant (and reluctant to eat out), I decided that it would be the best to rip open one of those packs of “ready to eats”, warm it, and gulp it with some toast and juice. I made a horizontal slit along the whole length of the silver packet and poured the entire contents into a bowl. I pressed as hard as I could with my fingers without making a mess. This done, I grabbed a bottle of drinking water nearby and poured just a few drops into the pack. I held together the sides of the packet and swirled it to clean the inner walls, making sure that nothing oozed out. Finally, I emptied whatever remained of the packet right into the bowl.

Wait, the last step was not written in the directions. Not that it was a childhood habit. It's just been three months since I have actually started to cook or warm food for myself. Where did I pick this habit then?

I thought hard. And then suddenly, I knew. I remember mom would do the same with the milk packets back at home. I had often seen her adding a few drops of water to the milk packets and swirl it, finally to add the last drops of water-milk mixture into the heating vessel. 

I thought hard about this habit of mine. Did everyone do it? Why was it that I refused to let go of the last bits of food? This wasn't wastage. Would I have done it had there been guests around? Why was it that after using almost 99% of the contents, that 1% mattered so much? Come to think of it, it took me only a few seconds to get that 99% out. But it took me a lot of time and energy and effort to get that last 1% out.

And then I realized that it was not so new a habit at all. Consciously or subconsciously, I had done similar things in the past. Like these:

1. Rupturing my nails in the process of taking the last bit out of the toothpaste from the tube, and then making a slit with a razor and using up the remnants at least for the next one week.

2.Adding a little water to the ready-to-eat packets to get the last of the gravy out.

    3. Licking off the inside walls of the Tastemaker in Maggi with fingers.
    4. As a kid, I used to lick off the salt from the potato chips packets. I still do when no one is looking. 

5. Licking off the chocolate from the wrapper while the actual chocolate is still in my hands.

  1. Adding a little water to that shampoo bottle for that last rinse when the contents are gonna be over.
7. Pouring juice or milk from cartons till the last drop, and then looking inside the carton to check if there is more, and finally keeping the carton upturned till the last few drops were gone.

  1. Scraping off the last remnants of dried up kheer or custard from the aluminum vessel. It tastes better than the actual kheer. 
  2. Using the pencil till it is too small to be gripped.
  3. Eating the last grain of rice, the last thread of noodles, or the last onions from the chilly chicken gravy at a restaurant, carefully manipulating the cutlery while making sure that no one is looking.
  4. Tapping off the last bits of powdery stuff from the sachets of health drink powders or powdered soups and cans of spices and salt.

    12. Using the soap till it is too thin to be held, and then trying to stick it with a new bar of soap so that nothing was wasted (The cycle is repeated for subsequent bars of soaps).
  1. Using the moist tissue paper to wipe off the face, throat, neck, and then use whatever moisture remains for the hands and legs. 
  2. Making the best of spoons to get the last bits from that bottle of jam or butter, that can of soup, that cup of yogurt, or that bottle of ginger garlic paste.

  1. Poising the can of condensed milk right over your tongue till the last drops are out.

  1. Drinking green coconut water (or Frooti) out of a straw till nothing but air was being drawn in. Then looking inside to see if there is any flesh remaining and scraping off the last remnants of coconut using the knife (I used to get frequent finger grazes doing this).

  1. Wondering if anything could be added to that moisturizing lotion bottle to be able to use the last drops of the lotion that sticks to the bottle (that is of course after you have spent quite some time poking your index finger into the bottle and getting out whatever lotion you could).
  2. Wondering after the lab experiment if the latex gloves, the Eppendorf tube tips, the petridishes, and the disposable pipettes could have been used again.

  1. Saving all the polythene packets, shoe boxes, paper bags, and pet jars carefully under the bed to be reused (even if that meant accumulating more junk).

  1. Swiping out the last remnants of the chocolate cake icing from the paper napkin.


Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Kanjoos makkhi-choos! :)

Anyway, I remember scraping the insides of milk pans and licking the tastemakers of Maggi, but not so many varieties as you, definitely. :)

Anonymous said...

dig ur nose till the last drop..:)

sushant said...

ooh you list was quite exhaustive. i do all of them except using the pencil for long. i think this behaviour has more to do with other factors than kanjoosi.
i scratch-extract and eat whateverz left on the frypan after i take out the maggi in the plate. and i bet its much tastier than the stuff on the plate.
refreshing post.

Anonymous said...

you bet ... u like it u lick it u squeeze it ...
that early morning frustration of dying toothpaste added with no brushes on toothbrush ... really tough ...
hilarious post to read ... gosh i don't belong to that unaesthetically licking community ...
but sorry to seriousize it ... i think these habits might have come down from age old culture of "boond boond banta sagar" or "sant tiruvalluar's picking rice from needle stories" ...

ME ... !!!

'jo said...

okay staying in hostel its needless to say that we all have that crunch on and my other two roomies use to buy "munch" thats like 9 cms all engineering standards each one should get 3 we use to place the chocolate on the table and make those three slices and fight for those little remains left on the table

Full2 Faltu said...

Actually funny reading those!

But I still do 13/20 things listed there so not changed much I guess. I have stopped doing many things though.


Jeevan Baretto said...

How about those days when daddy used to send money through drafts n how we used to swipe our debit cards in the ATMS till the last paise is drawn..:-)))

Anonymous said...

reading till last line of this blog hoping for something sensible

Anonymous said...

lol. i see u still have few "fans" who have "intelligent" stuff to say.
i do most of them too.
not with the protein powder but, thats coz i dont drink prot powder.
we r thrifty.
others r makhichoos.

Deeps said...

God!! I do this too!! Its not really that I am kanjoos or that I am financially hindered, I just hate "wasting" food.

And I do everything that you have mentioned, every bit!! Except the pencil maybe. I also clean out shampoo bottles but putting water and pouring the dilute liquid onto my hair :-D.

Di said...

arre not to worry ...all of us do stuff like this(or that all the people i know seem to b as crazy as me;)) mom does the milk packet wala thing too..and i do the chocolate one.. :D

Lady Godiva said...

i've been a regular visitor of your blog since some time.
I do point no. 12 with my soaps :-) and i'm shameless enough to admit it. to the moistriser, you can add some water ;-)

Anonymous said...

haha - I've dropped by your blog numerous times but this post just had me wanting to leave a comment :) Sorry for the anon though! Take care

Yugandhar V said...

hmm..!! thats quite a list. how much time did you spend on internal analysis? :)
i am not a scraper, but i have seen and lived with scrapers!