Saturday, November 28, 2009

How do you get coconut oil……and kerosene?

Like a true family, we like to remain close as we travel. Even if it means fitting 7 people in a car meant to seat 5 people only, including the guy who agreed to travel in discomfort. This usually is the youngest of the lot barring toddlers. They just keep standing or may be move around, lap to lap.

Last weekend I was at my sister's place and all of us went out together, taveling like a true famly. My 6 years old niece K was sitting in my lap. That is when the following conversation took place.

K: Do you know how is coconut oil made?
P: No, I don’t know? Do you?
K: Yes! I do. But give it a shot. I know that you are thinking that it is made from the coconut milk.
P: It is not?
K: No it is not!
P: Then I don’t know how? Can’t think of anything.
K: They didn’t tell you this in school?
P: Well, looks like they forgot. But you tell me.
K: Really! They forgot?
P: Yeah, that’s what it seems like. But why don’t you tell me. Looks like even you don’t know that.

That was enough challenge. So she oblized.

K: You don’t know a thing and you tell me I don’t know. This is how it is done. You take a coconut. Take out the milk. Then you dry the coconut. If it gets too dry then you put some water in it and dry it again. And then you put it in a machine. You know there is this machine which is so big and heavy and black.
P: And black?
K: Yeah there is this black machine, big and heavy which you put the coconut in. Coconut is dry but not too dry, if it gets too dry you have to put some water in it. And then you switch the machine on. The machine presses the coconut and the oil comes out.
P: But I can not see any oil in the coconut. (super amazed look here)

Exasperated, she banged her head once.

K: Oh its inside it. That is why the black machine has to press it out.

I can’t tell you how proud I was feeling of her. And of myself, I was learning so much. So I thought I will learn some more.

P: Ok then, how do you get mitti tel (i.e. hindi for kerosene = ground oil)?

If someone starts asking me too many questions, my normal response is, “smart ass, one question a day”. But this little girl was unfazed. I guess that is generation gap.

K: So you don’t know this too. This is so easy.
P: How do you get mitti tel?
K: You take some soil (= mitti) and ummm… mix some water in it. Then you dry it. Don’t dry it too much, else you will have to put some more water in it and dry it again. After that you have to put it in this big and heavy and black machine. You know there is this big, heavy and black machine.

Are you wondering now, if it is the same machine? I did, and I asked.

P: Ok. Same machine?
K: No not same, it is different. Because you have to put mitti in it. Besides, if you use the same machine, the coconut oil will become dirty.

No, I could not have thought of that.

P: Oh, right. Sorry. What do you do next?
K: Then you switch on the machine. The machine presses the mitti and the mitti tel (=kerosene) comes out.

Voila. I didn’t have the courage to tell her that I have never seen any oil in any soil.

Here is the little heroine of our story.

Oh by the way, are you still wondering if I told here the right thing? You will be glad to know that I did. And here is the simple formula, whatever oil you can eat comes out of the big and heavy and black machine after some poor produce getting pressed. And whatever oil you burn comes out of the well from deep down in the earth. I know, it is tough to explain. My experience is still fresh.

I am thinking if kerosene came out of soil, then Saudis would have been the poorest people. You see, their soil is mostly sand.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You and I just live on

How many times you meet people you think you are so in synch with. There are those people whom you want to embrace and not let go ever. You think you will be friends forever, will stay close forever and will realize the common dreams together. In the pleasure of the company of the friends and the camaraderie and the common thoughts and so many other things, you tend to forget something so important. We are all different people. And what is not common will, more often than not, be bigger and more important than what is. Even for what is common, there are different backgrounds, different constraints and different conditions that one has to contend with to realize it.

So we part. Sometimes forever, sometimes for a long time and sometimes we part only to meet intermittently. And who is to blame? No one, really.

I leave you with this small poem. This is where the line in the description of this blog’s title comes from.  And I am truly jealous of you if you can see, talk, reach out to and touch people whom you want to, anytime you want to and every time you want to. You are lucky and blessed.

See that wave running
Running to the shore
Crash into its embrace
Like there's nothing more

See that shore waiting
Dry, waiting to be quenched
Soak the mighty wave in it
Let go through fists clenched

Together now and part
On and on, it goes on
So do arms on the clock
You and I just live on


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