Tuesday, May 04, 2010

How to Dig a Well, Bake a Cake and Other Mundane Lessons

It is not at all about scooping out earth and dumping it all around a hole in the ground, this business of digging a well. It takes days on end and there is much math involved, I figured. I suck at math, I could never be in a position where I had to use geometry every day and still remain sane a week later. That brings me to the question of algebra, why would you ever want to use those absurd xs and ys in everyday life?

I digress.

So we have a new well dug up in front of the house, a deep one, 26 feet, I think. That is another area I am rather bad at, I simply cannot estimate the height of something in terms of feet or metres. Now, this well had already been nearly dug out when I made my appearance on the scene. The four people who were caked in mud and that smell that is so…well, muddy, were in the process of soothing out the interiors, so to speak, and preparing to install cement rings in the well.

It makes for interesting viewing, the whole process, more so when you have little else out of the ordinary to do. I spent a few mornings doing just that, periodically walking up to the well, peeping down gingerly and counting the number of rings that were being slipped down. I asked a few questions, but quickly got bored. Merely peeping down and watching the rings being put to place, the earth around them being soothed out, the way it was all shaping up made for an interesting lesson in something I know I will never myself do.

And then I baked a cake. 'Baked' sounds like too much more work than I actually did, made is more appropriate I suppose. This is a recipe for a coffee and coconut cake that is the easiest in the world to make. You ought to figure that out, I never attempt to make something for which the recipe is more than ten lines long. Ah, the cake now! It is one that doesn’t need eggs or an oven under certain temperatures for a certain period. All you need is sinful Milkmaid, coffee decoction/powder, biscuits and desiccated coconut powder. And a refrigerator. I must put in the recipe here, one of these days. That’s an addition to the list of simple recipes I was long supposed to have put down here. Those with recipes less than ten lines.

What I also did a few days ago at home was chase away a snake a long, slithery, black and shiny rat snake. I love them, though I don’t think I would ever hold them like Steve Irving, despite it being mine and dad’s one fond dream. I love the way they slither along, the elegant way in which they rise their head, the way their skin looks. Yes, I also hate the way the bottom of their body looks, its just plain creepy. I continue to be wary of them, the vestiges of the natural fear of snakes refuses to go away. But I find them fine creatures and have spent many hours observing them on the ledge just outside my room.

Now this particular black snake was in the bathroom. Before ma and I raised an alarm, armed ourselves with a long stick kept exclusively for this purpose and began to prepare for some excitement, the snake slithered away. Nothing much to it, just added a little noise to my otherwise quiet stay at home.

I am back in Bangalore, back to “plain problems”. It rained in the evening. The smell of the earth and the imagined feel of the rain drops on the tips of my fingers was nice. And I didn’t miss Madikeri just as yet.