Friday, May 21, 2010
I recently read a joke in Readers’ Digest magazine- A teacher sincerely tells a bunch of 5 year olds “You should know that God made everything”.One of the kids lifts his hand and innocently opines “But my Daddy says that everything is made by the Chinese?!”.
The Chinese are everywhere….gone are the days when the term ‘Chinese’ made your mind fill up only with appetizing images of noodles and soup or of Bruce Lee ‘chettan’ and his potent Karate skills….now the Chinese are into everything…they do everything ,they make everything. Apparently they make cheap door locks too by the dozen, and export them all over, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…and many a time these innocent looking things can mess up your life. A few weeks ago one of my friends got locked up in his room courtesy one of these cheap Chinese innovations, but c’mon that couldn’t happen to a smart, intelligent, resourceful and humble dude like me. I mean getting yourself locked in …..how dumb can that make you feel?? Pretty dumb …as I learnt in the course of time.
A couple of days back I was alone at home , with the wife and kid gone visiting relatives for a week. I was planning to retire early, after gobbling up some poorly made(a.k.a self-made) noodles (Chinese again) .So around 11:30 I drag my lazy self to the couch in the drawing room. I am about to plop down when I realize that it’s quite hot ,so I switch on the AC in full cool, and bang the drawing room door shut.
After half and hour of blissful sleep my bladder conveys a lil feeling of fullness to my brain ,so I make the grand decision to pee….…I re-drag my , by now lazier and sleepier self to the bathroom…voila!!!!…the door lock has jammed …as if by pure magic!
So now its me with a burning need to pee but no means to flee…..the perfect antonym of glee ( Having to pee and not being able to, does bring out the poet in you)
For a few confused seconds I try various innovative calisthenics with the door handle ….but apparently the handle and the lock are working hand in hand…one of those Chinese conspiracies, against poor Indians of course. So now I think of plan B……and realize that there is no plan B ,which is logical too, considering there really wasn’t any concrete kind of plan A either in the first place.(Unless you give the plan A status to the grand peeing program)
Now the advantage of living in Saudi Arabia is that most likely your landlord will not understand a word of what you say and vice versa, so you pretty much mutually leave each other alone (Which I sincerely feel is the best way to carry forward a landlord-tenant relation)…. normally communication is via extremely broken Arabic and sign language (in the reverse order mainly).So a telephonic communication with your landlord is basically like voting for crazy politicians during elections in India….pretty useless, yet it has to be done.
‘salaamualaikum’ says me
‘Walaikum salaam…kaif hal doctoor’ (How are things doctor?)
‘Wajid mushkil….bab sakkar… ana maujood inside…stuck….maloom’ (Big trouble….door closed, me inside,stuck.....get it?).For sake of decency I avoid any references to the other burning issue.
‘mawjood miftash extra?’ (do you have an extra key?)
By now I realize that the conversation, like me, is going nowhere and its already past mid-night. So I decide to hang up and call one of my rather resourceful contacts who’s been In Saudi for the last 10 years or so. This was the same guy who rescued my afore-mentioned friend from a state of self-inflicted imprisonment a few weeks ago.
“He…..ZZZZZ….llooo” My obviously half-asleep maybe-may -not -be savior
“I am stuck ….locked in ..the doors jammed…have to pee also…I ‘m going crazy!”
“ZZZZ….oh.sorry …ZZZ..you seem really busy….ZZZ…will call you later…good night” The phone clicks off
Now the stark reality starts sinking in with all its dreaded possibilities….earlier the big questions in life ( mostly around this time of the night ) were on the lines of ‘ to pee or not to pee’…..now it was basically down to simply how not to pee…..
Whenever I am in a difficult situation I often try to visualize what a Hindi movie hero would do in a similar situation….but unfortunately here I couldn’t remember anything filmy to inspire me. So I do what common sense tells me…….I switch off the AC..the heat I assume will make me sweat more thereby reducing the need to release fluids by any other orifice .I follow my decisive actions with what I sincerely feel is a look of fierce determination on my face ( I must have looked like a stupid dodo when I think of it retrospectively) and lie down on my back, close my eyes and try to remember all the good things that happened to me in my crazy life…….
Voila!!Magic again…..I wake up at around five…….fresh, and most importantly not having a dire need to pee. I call up a friend who arrives soon with a rope and tools ,tosses it up the only accessible window and I manage to wedge the door open. Soon after I manage to rest in ‘Pee’ce!
Moral of the story:
1. Don’t trust Chinese door locks……..they may be cheap, but may end up putting you in trouble deep!For that matter don’t trust anything cheap!!!
2. If you have an uncontrollable desire to pee in an unpeeable environment….switch off the AC/fan if it is on!! Works especially well if you have a Saudi Arabian summer to back you up!
Some links on how to deal with a jammed lock.(Chinese or otherwise!)
Image courtesy: www.1912bungalow.com/Outside_Handle02-thumb.jpg