There is an ongoing shortfall of cooking gas supply and one needs a minimum of ten days advance booking before gas cylinder is delivered to doorsteps. I booked my gas cylinder on 21st of this month but ran out of it yesterday afternoon. My pleading to the haughty “gaswalla” to deliver it yesterday, met with rude calculations of TEN days. I was not entitled for one because it’s still nine days of booking!! Silly yet stubborn.
I and Sachin decided to have the “Clix” gas as a temporary arrangement. Off we went shopping but couldn’t find the brand so ended up buying one with the name and logo of “Bharat” gas. The authenticity appeared doubtful. We got it checked by the shopkeeper, it was fine and he was all blah-blah about its safety and high sale. Sachin left for office from there to attend some important meeting. I came back home.
It was nine o’clock before I could get into the kitchen after putting Atharva to sleep. As soon as I rotated the switch on…WUUF there were tall flames from in and around the burner that greeted me like some devilish ginie from a bottle!!
I was shocked and numb for a second, tried to keep my cool by reassuring myself that it would go down next moment. But it did not! The cylinder was landed at the kitchen platform and something at the back of my mind was shooting continuous signals of “it might blast”. Thank God Atharva was sleeping away in a room but yet I needed to shoo away this ticking bomb from his vicinity. Something screamed– take it out into the balcony(!) and without giving it a second thought I clutched the one foot bright red cylinder with both my hands, obviously with leaping flames, racing heart and rushed to the balcony. As I was holding that red bomb in my hands my heart was screaming “it might blast – it might blast!!!” and I will be shredded into pieces. But that’s how most of us supposedly react when in an emergency situation—I mean foolishly.
The bomb did not explode though the flames were getting hungry for more. WATER!! the next signal I received, so gushed it with a bottle of water in the hope of dowsing it. But it was another of the foolish effort to dowse a fire fueling itself from LPG. It tamed down though but looked waiting to pounce once the opportunity. Shit! The balcony has a clothes line full of clothes. I have time coz they are all of Atharva’s little clothes hanging and far from the fires reach.
Did I mention that the lights went out the moment these flames started on? What I believed for a few seconds was that the flames might have hit the wires and caused a short circuit but once in balcony I found the whole area in darkness. Bloody powercut!!
Oh I had no difficulty running around with so much to light my ass!!
Barged in to call Sachin who responded by saying “Stop joking”. Grrrrrr….
His next reaction was take Atharva and rush out. But I knew I can’t. That would be irresponsible! I needed to douse the flame or the losses would be too high.
I wanted to call the shopkeeper who sold me this, but then chucked the thought as stupid for this moment.
I rushed out of my apartment, holding an emergency light, to my neighbour for help. She was clueless about these kinds of cylinders but suggested we should ask the other neighbour. We both rushed to her and the other one seemed familiar with these.
We all three went inside our apartment now glowing with golden light from the balcony. Once a look at the situation and the strength of the flames our neighbour was deterred to lay her hands on it. All she kept on repeating “need rotate the switch off”. But the metals were too hot to touch. Suddenly the tongs flashed in front of my eyes and the next moment they were in my hands. Gathering some strength from these two ladies, I went closer to the cylinder to turn it off. The first try, was met with wild retaliation, but by now I had accumulated enough courage and went on rotating it till it died down.
A heavy sigh of relief from we all three!!
Next was to thank God.
The next, the usual women chattering of what, why and how and what if…..
Both my neighbours are luckily ever ready to help with one suggesting I cook in her kitchen and the other giving her extra cylinder till I get one.
Have to mention that she immediately delivered the cylinder at my kitchen with the help of her son and the other neighbour brought a lovely masala dosa she cooked, for me to eat and calm down and she made sure the new cooking cylinder was properly connected.
It took me hours before my limbs would have stopped shaking and my head dizzying.
A good night sleep helped and I am still living in one piece to tell this tale.
Moral of the story: DON’T buy if the authenticity is a doubt.