FAN AND ITS USES
A fan in the room is such a solace especially in summers. The mere presence of it gives you a comfort level not because it is circulating air around but thank God electricity is there. Everyone has a favourite place in the room depending on your hierarchy in the house. Sitting under the fan naturally is reserved for the head of the house, right. You are mistaken. If you have pets then they are the bosses and they know where to sit. You can adjust accordingly.
You must ask a “Bai” the importance of a fan. She thinks that fans are meant to dry the wetness of the poncha. The most irritating thing they can do is that if you are sitting and she comes in for jharu. You have to leave the room for two reasons, she feels awkward and you feel awkward trying to hide a Whatsapp message. Second reason is that she will switch off the fan for her jharu. Choice is yours to sit in the heat or evaporate from the room. Actually, she doesn’t want you to hang around and leave her to work in peace.
The story doesn’t end here. If she has finished her jharu, then comes the turn of poncha. There is a time lag between the two. First, all jharu is finished and then she does poncha. Now the opposite happens. Say you have kept the regulator of the fan at two; bai wouldn’t care less and shall twist its nose to five. Dare you get down from the bed to reduce the regulator speed, you will be shouted down to climb up again. You will ruin her neatly done poncha if you step on the wet floor with your dirty feet and leave your pug marks on the nice & clean looking tiles.
Then there are some fans which till date I have not made head or tail of. These were fans inside those old buses, Ambassadors and Fiats. The vehicles used to be without AC in the years of yore. So by default all windows used to be kept open. I used to wonder whom are they going to throw air on. The driver used to have a special switch on the dashboard and in fauj the INT chap would stick “FAN” written with a lettro gun. This car fans neck used to be permanently twisted towards the driver invariably.
I have very fond memories of the “fatta class” of the Indian Railways. Reservations were done rarely and the free for all second class unreserved used to be our basic mode of travel. It used to have fans. Switches never worked and if they worked “on” meant “off” and vice versa. Most of the fans used to just stare at you without moving. My dad had found a way to make them work. He used to pull out a “Kanghi” from his pocket and put it though the gaps and give the blade a solid hit, 50 % chances used to be it would start. I used to make the fan my shoe rack and tie shoe laces to one of the wires as an anti-theft mechanism. Fans worked when the train moved whereas they were required to run when the train halted. Who benefited from the fans, God alone knows!
In school I remember very vividly. Fans served as clothes driers. The best way to dry clothes was to hang washed uniforms on the fans. Hostelers in school put them on hangers and hung these on the neck of the fan blades. They used to leave the fans switched on and left them to rotate at the slowest speed. On return the clothes used to be dry. After lunch and before study period was ideal time to visit the “dhoban” if I remember correctly. Innovation never ended as wires were neatly wrapped around the fan blades. That was in case more number of clothes were to dry. It was not surprising to see fans in hostels drooping down, never giving the requisite air when required because the balance of the blades used to get offset in the clothes drying procedure.
Be that as it may, fans of many varieties have surfaced including one called the “Farrata”. It can blow up many a skirt while passing by. I still haven’t been able to explain the logic to any bai that the fan is meant to cool people and not dry the poncha wetness. I am sure these ladies will one day understand why Schuyler Skaats Wheeler invented the fan. Will they? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis