thermos

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thermos

Post by rasāsvāda on Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:57 pm

i usually keep barley water in a big flask, and drink it little by little daily. There is no particular reason for me to keep it in that, but i don't want to use plastic, and i don't have any other usable steel or glass bottle, and no one uses this flask coz it's gigantic. We usually use it only when we are traveling. 


Once a week i wash it, giving it a nice hard shake, rinse, scrub. Some times i end up hitting it to one side of the sink, and every time this happens, i instantly go into a flashback... 


when we were little, we used to live in a government housing campus. Ours was a bungalow. Behind us were two, in short of a better word, courtyards. One directly behind us, and one adjoining it. They were mini colonies, each having maybe 15 houses in one line. Most of other govt workers (level 3 or 4) got those places. Not that wretchedly poor, and reasonably educated, I would say. There were a lot of kids there my age, and it was my playground until i was in 6th-7th grade. 


The houses, if we can call them that, each had 2 narrow rooms back to back. Meaning, there would be a small front aangan, then the front door would open into the first room, that would lead to the second room, that would lead to the kitchen, and that would finally lead to the aangan/backyard/bathrooms, and finally the back door. Each had a family of 4 to 6 people, on an average. 


Like it is the case in all indian closely placed housing, there was no such thing as privacy, and everything was everybody's business, and there wasn't a whole lot of filtering what a kid could or could not hear. Each family was highly individualistic, and they somehow got along. Especially on festive days. In between all that fun and frolic, there were a lot of undertones of frustration, failures, and poverty. And that's why each success, little or big, was a huge deal. 


Right in the middle of that housing, lived a family of four. A father and three sons. The mother had died many years ago from a kitchen fire. The oldest son was about 10-11 years older to us. The most sincere guy you will come across. He was in the general category (the so called upper caste), and he managed to get into the one esteemed engineering college of our city. It was a HUGE deal for all of us and everyone looked up to him. His degree was our degree. (I went into that same school years later, and felt so proud of it). 


Most of the days, he would be sitting on the bed/takht in the front room and cramming out loud. Yes, even physics and math formulae. We could hear his voice all the way out in our playground. Some days, in his exam times, if we were too loud, he would come out to chase us. But otherwise was an extremely decent and peaceful guy. He had a best friend from his college, who was slightly better off than them. He used to be a regular in our little complex. Was almost one of us. Many times he used to come with his little sister. The friend used to pick and drop him on his bicycle, if I remember correctly. 


The second boy was, not sure how to say it politely, was dimwitted/mentally retarded. He barely finished middle school, then began doing odd jobs. So apart from his dad, he was the only regular earner in the family, with the older one doing tuitions sometimes. And he was our entertainer too. Coz some days he would just climb a tree or a rooftop, and joke from up there, while his father and brother tried to bring him down. 


The third son was maybe 3-4 years older to us. he was an average kid in school, and the tallest/thinnest/sanest one of the lot, in other words, the most boring one. The dad had worked hard to raise the 3 boys by himself. Overall, the family rarely mixed with others any more than they needed to. I think their plan was to get out of there the moment the oldest one got a sustainable job. I never followed up what happened to them later. 


In those days, i think thermoses used to be expensive and only made of glass, and hence highly sensitive. (Not sure if steel ones were available). You hit it anywhere, the inner lining would break and it was instantly useless. In summer time, the dad somehow managed to buy a thermos for the older son, I think to take to school. It was a big deal for all of us, and they used to keep it delicately like a feather. I think we all got to touch it only once under the hawk eyes of the dad, who soon got insecure and snatched it back from us. 



One day while we all were playing near the main road, we saw the oldest, his friend and his little sister coming in. The boys were in the front, walking with the cycle, and the sister was hippity-hopping in the back. I think she was barely 8-9 years old. Our age. She must have taken a drink out of that thermos, and was dangling it in her hands. In one such swing, it hit the back of their bicycle, and the world kinda stopped. I still remember that scene so vividly. She froze, almost about to cry, looking up at her brother. The brother froze looking infront of him in horror, the oldest son froze, and we all gasped. Very slowly, the son picked up the thermos and opened it. It was gone, even we could hear the rattling glass pieces inside. He stood there silently. They all stood there silently. We all stood there waiting for a reaction. It was the saddest moment for us to witness. Such a prized possession. Gone. The oldest son walked back home with his head hanging low. We all followed, the little girl a bit timidly, her brother a little apologetically. The father saw it, and his face dropped as well. Probably it was a little too ambitious to buy that thermos, he seemed to murmur. Affording a college fee was hard enough, this was too much of a luxury. But they were decent enough to not say anything to the little girl, who could burst into tears any minute. 


That day, I learnt the importance of keeping your items safe. The flasks now are much more robust, atleast the steel ones. But every time I hit one accidentally, i still gasp the same way. that scene comes back to my mind, and i thank all kinds of stars this didn't break, atleast this time. And many times, whenever i am taking a cool sip out of a thermos, I feel the same satisfaction that the dad felt back then when he had one, even if temporarily. It's an etched memory that I will never be able to shake off, I guess. Thermos, to me will always be a dear prized possession.

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Re: thermos

Post by confuzzled dude on Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:23 pm

rasāsvāda wrote:
The oldest son was about 10-11 years older to us. The most sincere guy you will come across. He was in the general category (the so called upper caste), and he managed to get into the one esteemed engineering college of our city. It was a HUGE deal for all of us and everyone looked up to him. His degree was our degree. (I went into that same school years later, and felt so proud of it). 
As of 2015 about 8% of population have a bachelors or a higher degree. I assume it would have been 4% at best, in the '70s; I think we tend to overestimate the impact of reservations on general category when in fact forward caste population are around 30-40% in most of the states.

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Re: thermos

Post by rasāsvāda on Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:37 pm

confuzzled dude wrote:
rasāsvāda wrote:
The oldest son was about 10-11 years older to us. The most sincere guy you will come across. He was in the general category (the so called upper caste), and he managed to get into the one esteemed engineering college of our city. It was a HUGE deal for all of us and everyone looked up to him. His degree was our degree. (I went into that same school years later, and felt so proud of it). 
As of 2015 about 8% of population have a bachelors or a higher degree. I assume it would have been 4% at best, in the '70s; I think we tend to overestimate the impact of reservations on general category when in fact forward caste population are around 30-40% in most of the states.

Sorry. Not going to let your politics dilute down his accomplishments. He had all kinds of odds against him, forward caste included. He didn’t go to any big school coz his dad couldn’t afford one. Barely had money for books, forget tuition and all kinds of distractions were there where he lived. It was his singleminded dedication which put him where he got. And mind you, you had to be in top 200 in the whole state to get into that school back in early 80s.

Not to forget: no mother. Younger dependent brothers, meaning he shared all the household work with his dad.

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Re: thermos

Post by confuzzled dude on Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:42 pm

rasāsvāda wrote:
confuzzled dude wrote:
rasāsvāda wrote:
The oldest son was about 10-11 years older to us. The most sincere guy you will come across. He was in the general category (the so called upper caste), and he managed to get into the one esteemed engineering college of our city. It was a HUGE deal for all of us and everyone looked up to him. His degree was our degree. (I went into that same school years later, and felt so proud of it). 
As of 2015 about 8% of population have a bachelors or a higher degree. I assume it would have been 4% at best, in the '70s; I think we tend to overestimate the impact of reservations on general category when in fact forward caste population are around 30-40% in most of the states.

Sorry. Not going to let your politics dilute down his accomplishments. He had all kinds of odds against him, forward caste included. He didn’t go to any big school coz his dad couldn’t afford one. Barely had money for books, forget tuition and all kinds of distractions were there where he lived. It was his singleminded dedication which put him where he got. And mind you, you had to be in top 200 in the whole state to get into that school back in early 80s.
Never did I suggest that it was a small feat, and if he had to be in top 200 to get into that college he would've even with 80% reservation. Kudos to him. BTW, this has got nothing to do with politics rather about the progress of India as a whole. If there were no reservations to begin with i'm sure forward caste folks with plenty of resources (mind you, I'm one of them) would've dominated every aspect of the country. Just check out the situation right after the independence and who occupied the most # of civil service jobs.

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Re: thermos

Post by rasāsvāda on Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:06 pm

And isn’t that sad? That you had to be that good to not let reservations affect you. Anyway, now that I think of it this was not a big deal back in the late 70s or early 80s. At least I don’t remember them even mentioning it once. It began being a nuisance more in the late 80s as more and more people began abusing it. And that’s when when we looked back we realized how big a deal it was for that boy under those circumstances to make it.

In that same housing there was a girl 4 years older to me. she wanted to go to med school. Every year she managed to get in using some reservation, but the only reason she could not join was because she would fail in 12th board. When I left that place she had failed her first time. I returned 4 years later for some event and she was still failing at it. All she had to do was to pass high school and she had a medical career waiting for her.

Anyway. My original intention of the story wasn’t to get into a discussion of reservations. I mentioned it coz it was notable he got it on his one and not due to any external help. And I will leave it at that.


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Re: thermos

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:00 pm

teri to (what was TS's thread title)?

I have found a new genre of music! It is called post-rock!

Sunegi? 

But condition is like that for any other music track: that you have to listen to it at least ten times before rejecting it. 

If you say yes to please me, I will kill you. If you say yes to please such, I will kill you. If you say yes to please yourself, I will kill you. (This reminds me of a line by Salman Rushdie from Midnight's Children:


    I will not make you do anything you do not want to -- said the hypnotist to her client. )


So, as always, the choice is yours.

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Re: thermos

Post by rasāsvāda on Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:20 pm

lol, i think you mean 'tere liye'...

post rock, hmm. I have a highly selective rock preference, but who knows, I might like post-rock. And i guess the only time i am forced to listen to a song 10+ times is when it plays it on the radio, and weirdly i end up liking them by then. I think this term is called radio-diluting or something.

"If you say yes to please me, I will kill you. If you say yes to please such, I will kill you. If you say yes to please yourself, I will kill you."

so i guess i will say yes coz i don't fear unpleasantness.

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Re: thermos

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:31 pm

yes, tere liye! (ill compose a couplet for such.com tomorrow.)

post-rock is what arises after the cacophony of rock and heavy-metal inundates the cremation ground in a slew of corpses. You see, nobody realized that even the doms need music to gyrate to. 

that is how people who like  post-rock describe it as, ha ha.

those who believe rock still lives imagine no cremation.

yet others, who might feel slighted, offended or just different, describe it as ambient, atmospheric or loda lassan music.

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Re: thermos

Post by rasāsvāda on Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:43 pm

hmm... don't know. i have been told i have a very base taste in music. my own kids judge me for liking Taylor Swift, lol. But one thing no one can deny is that i have a very wide range in music, and that's probably coz i listen to it a lot, and have near-to-zero knowledge of it. I go by whatever i find catchy, or soulful, or meaningful, in terms of lyrics, or simply whatever suits my mood. So I am always open to anything that comes my way.

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