Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Strangers and magnets

Yesterday noon we were at home. Being the good bharatiya nari that I am 0:-), I was busy making lunch. The door bell rang. We usually don't have visitors showing up without calling first. Thiking it was the service-person asking if we had clothes for ironing, I peered through the peep-hole. Only to find a complete stranger-lady outside. I cautiously opened the door.

This lady said that she was coming from the Indane (gas company) office and she had come by to check the safety of the gas connection. Now, considering that we have not even received our long-ago ordered gas connection yet (we are cooking on a borrowed gas cylinder currently), I thought sending someone to check the non-existent connection was a bit rich. However gas-lady was not to be put off. She was running checks on all houses and would check borrowed connections too - for free! Thinking it over, I realized, a) S was at home too b) gas-lady was female. So risk of letting stranger into home was kinda minimimal. Thus I took her to the kitchen.

Gas-lady started checking connections. That was when my brain engaged into paranoia mode. What if this lady belonged to a gang of thieves who were surveying potential houses to rob? Or what if she was a solo-robber? I stood a little away from gas-lady (to avoid being chloroformed - I told you I have an active imagination) and watched her like a hawk so I could scream at the slightest odd behavior.

Gas-lady made some motions of checking the connections. Then she revealed the real reason for her visit. She was selling some magnetic gas saving gadget. Instead of being annoyed at being conned like this along with being interrupted in the lunch-making process, relief flooded through me. Yaay - she was not a potential burglar!

By this time, S came by to see what gas-lady was upto as well. We both listened open-mouthed as gas-lady gave some ultra-vague theory about how affixing magnets near the cylinder source would miraculously allow gas in a cylinder to last for 60 days as opposed to 40 days. Umm - right. We asked if she had proof of some study conducted to validate that claim. Oh no, said gas-lady, people have been using the device only for 6 months or so now. That there are plenty of 40 day chunks in a 6-month period did not strike her.

At this point, gas-lady realized that S and me were of too scientific a bent of mind to buy into her magent-attracts-steel-in-gas-tube-leading-to-fuel-efficiency theory. Disappointed, she packed her magnets and left.

When I later narrated my thought-sequences to S, he told me that it was good idea to listen to misgivings *before* letting strangers into the house rather than after. Good point, that.

p.s. I did google search and apparently there is some credence to magnetic fuel saving contraptions. Who would have thunk! Though the reason is most definitely not what gas-lady told us.


Anita said...

Here is a tip - I always keep the door open when some service person comes home. And I stand closer to the door than the person. So if someone is pretending to be Samsung or Videocon personnel, theoretically I should be able to scream for help and run out of the house.
Yeah, our family is a bit paranoid isn't it...

SK said...

I am loving your frequent posts, about life in Chennai.

Why be scared with S in the house? Totally different matter if you were alone. :--)

Archana said...

Sindu - lol - my body was facing away from the lady just in case. Hmm - that does sound like paranoia!

SK - True - but imagination was galloping away totally!

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to the paranoia...When I go for visits to India and have strangers over, I usually stand close to the cutlery drawer, or if not in the kitchen, closest to the heaviest object in the room..which sometimes is my father :)) sorry couldn't help...

kutti said...

am sorry.... but i couldn't get past 'gas-lady' !! n u keep repeating it !! ha ha ha !!

Archana said...

Kutti - LOL - I was wondering when someone would comment on it!! And ahem, if you couldn't get past gas-lady how do you know I repeated it :-P????