Cast iron manhole covers, Made in India! If one wants to see them, one has to go to San Francisco in US, like we did – not as museum pieces but actually being used on their roads to cover the manholes. We do not get to see them in India, because, the moment they are placed in position, they are stolen and probably sold for their scrap value. It is a prime target for the thieves, be it outside on the road or in one’s own compound. The next prime target of this totally socially irresponsible lot is the metal tap. No metal tap is allowed to survive if they are fitted outdoors. So, to be one up on these rogues, the residents fit the outside water outlets with non reusable plastic taps with soldered metal connectors. But one of the thieves would not spare even that in my house!

I was enjoying a luxurious early morning snooze in bed, as my husband was out of station. I was dreaming that I was enjoying a waterfall. The dream was so real that I could actually hear the water. Hear? Oh, God, it was not a dream! The water was actually pouring somewhere in the house. Had I left the tap on anywhere? I got up with a start to trace the leaking faucet. Soon I discovered that the pouring was from the tap in the open backyard. Did I say ‘Tap’? There was no tap. It was water cascading in great volume from the tapless pipe!  The Bangalore Corporation releases us filtered Kaveri water on alternate days. When they do, it is not a trickle as in some other areas. Here in Jayanagar it POURS! The thief in his impatience had yanked the plastic portion of the tap off allowing the water to gush out with no control. With the force with which the water was coming out, the pipe would not retain any plug. Anything I tried, it would just spit out contemptuously. I am sure King Bhagiratha never had a problem like this with the holy Ganga river. All he had to do was to stand on one leg, meditate upon Shiva and lo, Shiva was there to trap the gushing river in his elaborate bouffant and control the outflow.

With the husband out of station, my handyman skills were called to the fore. But then, even when he fitted new taps, I used to plug the pipe with my palm. Unfortunately, here I was all alone. If it were the tap on the overhead tank supply, I could have turned off the master tap and control it. My expertise was a limited one, extending to fitting new bulbs, changing the fuse, over hauling the stove and sewing machine etc. And here I was, confronting a faucetless pipe discharging cusecs after cusecs of precious filtered Kaveri water. Thank God, there was no one from the neighboring state present to censure me.

My first thought was to fit the spare plastic tap kept ever ready for such emergencies. But, I found that the metal connector part would not go into the pipe. It did not strike me that perhaps, while yanking the plastic portion of the tap, the faithful, threaded metallic portion had stuck to the pipe and might have refused to leave. In my ignorance, I figured that I should get a plain plastic tap. I visited 3-4 shops in the nearby market. Nowhere could I find just a plastic tap without the connector.By then, it was time for the Corporation to mercifully switch off their supply and the next day was a No-water day. By evening the master of the house returned, to my great relief. He had a tough time removing the obstructing old metal connector from the pipe and fit the new plastic tap with its connector duly in place.

Even the thief must have learnt his lesson by then that by attempting to steal a plastic tap, he would never get anything worthwhile-neither the plastic tap nor its metal connector.


30 responses »

  1. Smita Luthra says:

    Very sweet Vimala Ji. A very witty narration of an amusing incident. 🙂 Enjoyed reading it. You have style!

  2. vimala ramu says:

    Thank God for small mercies ! Yes, it takes quite a bit to hassle me,perhaps, an AOL practitioner !

  3. Dear Vimala,

    Only you can see humour where persons like us only see anger, irritation or hurt.

    Nobody could have handled this better.

  4. vimala ramu says:

    That’s the tragedy of it, Eva. Neither the thief nor I gained from the situation.
    Glad you enjoyed the piece. Thank you.

  5. Eva Bell says:

    Gosh! all that precious water wasted in a city like Bangalore!
    What a low-down thief!
    Vimala,your Ha Ha columns are always rib-tickling. You can introduce humour even into such an exasperating situation.

  6. vimala ramu says:

    Thank you,Sneha.
    (Sd) President of H. club!

  7. Sneha says:

    Agree with Mrs.Pankaja that you should be the president of a laughter club soon sometime.

  8. vimala ramu says:

    He is beyond compare. I don’t want to exchange him for anything in this world. Ha, Ha !!!!

  9. Irene says:

    Well, you’re lucky your husband doubles as a handyman! Mine would be as clueless as me 🙂

  10. vimala ramu says:

    Sure, You are absolutely right, Seetharam.

  11. Seetharam says:

    Moral of the story. It is not a handyman you need but a man handy at home !!

  12. Sonal Shree says:

    Visualizing you trying to contain the ‘tapless pipe’- ha,ha. Another good one from your witty arsenal.

  13. Nuggehalli Pankaja says:

    Vimala,you really know how to give humorous sheen even

    to mundane everyday occurences! You should be made the

    president of humorous club!

  14. isabel says:

    At first I was scared, thinking of those thieves lurking around, but after reading Shernaz comment, then I realised they were not hard core thieves. Perhaps at that moment a hungry or desperate father or a brother passed by your house and saw that pipe as a means to buy food for the little ones who had been crying all day and night for hunger pains.

    The only thing is that a lot of water was wasted, but then again pehaps not. Maybe after a few days you’ve noticed that your grass were lucious green and your flowers abloom. Another blessing disguised by all the trouble you went through…and a lesson learned too. Next time you have the same incident, you know what to do! =)) hahaha
    Enjoyed reading this!

    • isabel says:

      from hunger pains / luscious…=))

      • vimala ramu says:

        What a way to condone a misdemeanour! But, such easy methods finally evolve into a major crime. It was indeed a waste of water because, it just went down the drain-not being connected to my garden.Thanks for enjoying my blog.

  15. vimala ramu says:

    After putting such expensive keepsakes, why blame them if people steal them?!!

  16. deepika says:

    One more laughing bullet from our witty gun shooter.
    I’ve no idea if, you are aware of that in Chandigarh there are manhole covers which are extraordinary, as they have imprints of Chandigarh’s master plan, prepared by famous architect Le Corbusier.Few of them were stolen long time ago but found later. After that all these were removed from the roads and auctioned in Nov. 2010 and can you imagine together they fetched sum of Rs. 7crore.

  17. beyniaz says:

    You managed to steal my attention with this one. Sorry for the short comment, am dashing out to check the taps in my garden:)

  18. Shernaz says:

    Vimala, we have very considerate thieves too. I have heard stories where a wallet and all else in it was returned to the owner after the cash was removed. And one commuter in a Mumbai local had her chain thrown back at her with a slap! because it was not gold I think volumes could be written about thieves and thieving in India. Thanks for the smiles.

  19. vimala ramu says:

    That reminds me a joke I read on Deccan Herald yesterday. America invented a machine to catch thieves.
    In US, 24 were caught in an hour.In UK, 46 were caught. In some other place 88 were caught while in India, nobody was caught because the machine was stolen within an hour !

  20. Vimala Madam,

    Yesterday, there was a news item that in a nice, posh locality in Chennai, someone made off with two car wheels of an office goer! – the poor guy had come to take the car to go to office, and imagine the plight!

    Plastic taps have replaced steel taps in MOST public places – even houses (backyard, etc) – for the reasons you have mentioned. Brass taps are virtually out of fashion now! 🙂

  21. vimala ramu says:

    Thank you, Geetha. Nadi, you are really a woman of few words !

  22. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    As usual charmingly simple tale told with utmost witticism. I could visualize each and every scene as though happening in front of my eyes. 🙂

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