Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fads and Fables



My current fad is now taking water directly from the lake. Normally, water is pumped from Priyadarshani Lake, stored in a huge tank to suffice for the Maitri station as well as summer camp. What we drink is a stored and filtered version. Normally I am not a great enthusiast of water filters at our homes too. Most of the homes do not service them properly and hence filters become a potential area and source of micro-organism breeding activity. Many of the wintering members of the 26th team also take water from the source. They were a step ahead. When snow was in abundance before the summer season set in, they would bring bucketful of white sparkling snow from glaciers around Maitri and let it melt in the warmth of their heated rooms. Now the lakes have been thawed and one could collect water itself. By the way, with temperature dropping now, some of the shallow ponds have started freezing once again. So I also go to a nearby lake and bring fresh water for my consumption in my hut. Yesterday water was freezing cold and after filling the bottle I had to rush to the bathroom to put my hand in the hot water, though it took no more than a minute or two for my bottle to fill up.

The supply of honey has exhausted and new supply is yet to be offloaded. However, my 'sattu and gur' in the morning is regular. Members view it as a weird, fascinating or healthy habit, but no one has taken a fancy to it in spite of my offering to prepare a drink for them.

If I return home with some weight gain, it will not be because of consumption of butter, juices, or ice creams. It will be because of having tea full of milk and sugar. People here are used to take tea much much sweeter than the tea available at road side stalls on highways. You must take it as a sign of my popularity that when I visit Annapurna hut (our 24 hour pantry), someone is always willing to make a cup of tea for me. I do not refuse them and in the process I have to take tea syrup in spite of my telling them to put less sugar and milk. I have decided to switch over to coffee since not being used to taking coffee they listen to my instructions for making it. In any case I take coffee without sugar.

In keeping up with my storytelling from 'Chanda Mama', sometimes on Tuesday evenings at the Maitri temple after bhajans and aarati, I sometimes tell the attendees a fable from my childhood. This evening I told them the story of a boy and his step-mother where the mother prays to the God to make her son like an ant, grass and dust and also that he should always have too much hunger and sleep. I must have told you people at least on more than one occasion.

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