Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Packing and Unpacking

Wondering why I'm not writing anymore? I stopped writing because I had to pack and unpack many of the following items over the last couple of weeks.
  1. Some 20 or so cartons of books
  2. Half a dozen trunks full of clothes
  3. Two crates full of utensils, crockery and cutlery
  4. A couple of steel cupboards
  5. A pair of hold-alls
  6. Two beds, mattresses and all
  7. One divan
  8. A sofa set, with centre table and side tables
  9. A dressing table with a full length mirror
  10. A fridge
  11. One washing machine
  12. TV, DVD player, music system, record player etc.
  13. A few boxes of audio cassettes, CDs, DVDs and gramophone records
  14. A treadmill, a carom board, a cricket bat and two folding cots
  15. A locked bicycle (since the key had been packed away in some box earlier)
  16. A pair of carpets
  17. Several framed pictures, including a full size replica of the Mona Lisa
  18. A few potted plants
  19. A red coloured Tobu tricycle (don't ask me why we carried that)
  20. Many, many other things which I can't remember
The larger items were packed by the transport people under our supervision, but we packed the smaller ones ourselves. All the time I spent in Allahabad was used for packing. Finally the goods were loaded onto a large truck and it was covered with two large tarpaulins and tied up nicely. We were very happy that our stuff would be safe and dry in this rainy season.

We had forgotten all about Murphy's Law. We remembered it only when the truck arrived at our Hooghly residence on the morning of the 15th of August and the covers were opened.

The potted plants were just plants sans the pots, and lay amidst scattered soil and shards on the floor. As expected, they had shriveled up due to lack of water. But the plants were the only things that needed water. Most of the other things were very wet.

Turns out that the truck ran into severe rain en route Hooghly and water started seeping in. The guy whom we had kept on the truck to supervise proudly announced later that he had made the driver open up the tarps and retie them properly. I feel that's when all the water accumulated on the tarp roof fell down into the truck. Several cartons of books had soaked up water. One of them collapsed completely and scattered its contents on the floor. Cloth bound encyclopedias were lying in the water for days... just the thought makes me sick. Apart from the books all mattresses, cushions and furniture were also dripping. The plywood top of the divan will have to be thrown away. The framed pictures got badly wet, and one Van Gogh replica and the Mona Lisa cracked their glasses. Luckily the Mona Lisa didn't get wet. The cupboard doors were rubbed raw. The biggest damage was that the water got into one of the cupboards and ruined the few clothes that were there... dark green colour ran off one of my mother's sarees and painted everything else with green patches.

The weather being particularly unhelpful over the next few days, drying up the stuff proved to be a big headache. Most of the time the sky would be cloudy, and brief sunny periods would be followed by sudden showers out of the blue. We had to drag the mattresses out onto the terrace repeatedly and drag them back in when it rained. The books had to be spread out in a room with the fan running, and soon they sprouted a thick layer of multi colored fungus. But even the books are mostly dried up and cleaned out now, thanks to my mother's hair-drier.

Still the rooms are piled high with the dry cartons. We couldn't empty them as we were busy with the wet stuff. Everything has to be unpacked and put in its proper place. Things that took twenty years to accumulate take some time to arrange. And arranging things in a three-storied house means innumerable trips up and down the stairs, which makes it a slow and tiring process.

So, posts may be few and far-between, as I'll be tired on the weekdays with the office work and on the weekends with the unpacking. I hate it this way, but I guess this is the only way out until somebody invents teleportation.

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