I read this line by Gertrude Stein in the morning “Oh, I wish I were a miser; being a miser must be so occupying.” And my thoughts wandered to one person with realisation dawning that how true the quote is.
I’ll refrain from taking the names and call the hero here Mr MFO, the Miser of First Order. And his actions used to be always occupying, not just for him but even others. He in enacting them while others watching with a gasp.
Mr MFO is a leading CSE researcher and got his engg degree from IIT with flying colours. None can question his intelligence level. But this one characteristic of his has made him into a specimen piece worth of research in turn.
I remember going to Roorki once with few friends and profs for a seminar. He too was with us. At Howrah station, while we all were adjusting ourselves on Rajdhani Express MFO was suddenly found to be missing. Just then he came back with a hand-full of Banana. Reason stated, he’s going to see that his meal cash taken by Railways is encashed and banana, well they were his dinner. Why waste Rs 300/- on dinner when you can get your fill for just Rs 3/-. And mind you he made sure to lodge a complaint at New Delhi station for the meal money taken and later also made sure to follow it up for three full years with even meeting then Railways Minister Mamatadi. (He still laments for that money and has made sure never to take Rajdhani Ex again)
But let me get down to the main incident. It happened about four years back. I had to go to my Profs house to get a file when I saw his wife standing outside with an expression, well I am sure even Brahma Vishnu Maheshwar would find it impossible to put it down in words.
There was a Maruti 800 standing on their driveway. And one person was standing bent near the car, completely drenched. It looked as if he had taken a shower with all his clothes on. On coming near I first recognised the person, it was none other than our Mr MFO. And what he was doing cannot fall anywhere near terms like “Atrocious” or even”Preposterous”.
One of the tyres of the car was deflated and he was using a “Foot Pump of Cycles” to fill air!!!! It was the month of May, when KgP reels under high temperature and severe heat wave. No wonder he was fully drenched, not after shower but with a shower of sweat. After swetaing for an hour he could fill air to the level that he can now drive easily for next few days without going to the pump station.
Next he got up.
Looked at me with a satisfied grin.
Must have been thinking – “The Sweat is Sweet”
Then he asked me to pick up the pump and keep it inside.
I bent down, touched it and jumped back.
Yes the pump was HOT like anything and it was difficult to even hold it. I looked at him and my Profs wife in turns. He just smiled at her and said “Don’t worry Boudi (Bhabhi in Bengali), it will cool down in a moment.”
It cooled down but when we looked at it, we found every rubber part of the pump, washers and stuff, all have changed their geographical and chemical state and shape. Only thing my Profs wife commented was “We should appreciate and really applaud this perseverance characteristic of his”. But she made sure not to give him or even allow him much into her house after that!!!!
P:S: Did I ever tell you all that he had spent full 2 hours once in a shop waiting for 20 paise change as the shopkeeper did not have it then. Or his taking new crockeries home keeping the payment on hold till next day, and returning them back when the evening get-together at their home got over.