Thursday, July 13, 2006

Flush in a flash

My ancient toilet flush is on a weeping spree again. The floor is irritatingly wet every time I go in for my tryst with nature. If this is not enough, the hiss of the leaking water from the sullen outlet teases my ears. I step out of my matchbox flat reluctantly fighting the temptation to roll back in those crumpled sheets.My eyes look for that big burly figure, my harbinger of rest room peace – Arun. He is the local doctor for any plumbing chore. He has a way with toilets I must say. Choked sinks, wet washers, tight taps, and loose nuts… he can mend in minutes. He is lazying under the pump room shade as usual. If the neighborhood had not known his skill, he would have passed for the local goon – the one you consult in life-and-death situations that threaten your middle-class dignity. Arun never believes in wasting time. He rushes to my place and attends to the ailing patient.

“It’s the handle again” he murmurs and leaves the scene.

15 minutes pass and he’s back with a plastic wrapped brand new handle in his rough palm. I am in the hall when I hear the familiar sound of the water gushing out in a jiffy. Like an overjoyed expectant father waiting outside the labour room, I rush to the loo with another admiring look towards Arun. He has done it again and for the umpteenth time, he carefully explains the dynamics of the flush.

“See, when you push this handle, water begins to fill in the pan. When the level crosses the top of the trap here, the flow starts and gradually, a bubble in the top creates a siphon. It is this siphon, my friend, which pulls the water out of the pan and we say the toilet has flushed”

This extempore invariably flows in chaste English with a tone best-suited to address a classroom. I thank him as I always do and he rushes back to the pump room shade.

Arun is my next-door neighbor. He lost his job as a solution architect with Flow Soft- a flow-modeling software firm - following an allegation of irrational behavior at the workplace. Arun’s magnum opus, a thesis on “Intricacies of fluid dynamics and flow engineering” lies buried in his cupboard.

Dear Pradyuman

We know you now keep vigil from up above. We know you have had to take matters in your own hands, going by the sorry state of affairs down ...