Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Self-assembled machinery

In Kolkata, I do not need to look far for inspiration to write. Most things around the house are things I grew up with but never noticed as an insider. But now, I do. For example, we use a piece of self-assembled, unique machinery. A really long frayed rope is tied to a 500 ml plastic bottle at one end, and to a jute bag at the other. We live on the fifth floor and do not have an elevator (which thankfully keeps many unwanted people away). So we use this bag-rope-bottle thingy multiple times every day. When the domestic help arrives and needs the keys to the outside door, we lean from the balcony and get it to her. When the mailman arrives with the mail, we use this. Limited amounts of grocery, clothes, books, and other assorted paraphernalia get exchanged between the different floors using this. When I ordered two books online, this thing came to my rescue and prevented me from climbing up and down 160 steps in the summer heat. Of course it needs a little skill to not create knots in the rope while using it, something that I had forgotten. So now there were a couple of tight knots, and the bag would not go beyond the third floor no matter how much I leaned in and out. For me, running data requires less patience than untying these knots, especially when under time pressure. It's also a wonderful workout for the biceps, not to mention an interesting F=mg kind of school physics problem. The bottle cannot be too large, the bag cannot be too heavy, and the rope cannot be too thin, given the mass of the stuff we normally transport. Sometimes, the bag gets caught in a jutting television antenna or a lowly hanging clothes drying rope from another balcony on another floor. Barring that, it is quite a handy tool around the house. Who needs IKEA after this?


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