Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Explosion At Rhythmic Towers

I'm back in London after a rather nice flight on the fourth Singapore Airlines A380. I'll tell you more about the aircraft later, after I manage to upload the photos I took. I was one of about five people in my section of the plane who were taking pictures and frankly I don't know whether I'm proud or ashamed to be part of that little club.

Arrival back in London was planned to coincide with my eldest's fourteenth birthday. No longer will she be known as "A, my 13 year old", from now on she will be formally known as "A, my 14 year old". There was some present buying, some lunching and some taking her to see her paternal grandparents to be done. It was all nice, all very jolly and all very " God I can't believe she's 14 already!"

Like any good Sri Lankan after some time away from home, wherever home is, I was pining for a good rice and curry upon my return. A proper Sri Lankan rice and curry, not one of the Indian imitations mind. My options were simple; I could have made a phone call to a random Sri Lankan in London and cadged an invite for dinner, I could have carted myself off to one of the few Sri Lankan restaurants or I could have cooked myself a veritable feast.

My preferred option was the latter. It was a relaxed option and one that didn't involve social niceties and the thought of driving somewhere and getting tired and having to make conversation. These are the things a fellow thinks about when living alone. Had you crept into my back garden and peered through my kitchen window at about 6.30 on Sunday night you would have seen me doing all those familiar things; cutting onions, frying them with mustard seed, garlic and curry leaves, then adding my chicken and exactly seventeen times the recommended daily allowance of salt, as any half decent Sri Lankan recipe requires.

After doing all that and getting my chicken curry just right I started on the rice, pretty straightforward with a rice cooker these days. I washed it, added more salt and was just about to plug in the rice cooker and turn it on. Now you know me as a fearless fellow, a kind of cross between Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Walker, Texas Ranger. But, and I know you'll be suprised at this, I am scared of two things in life; women and electricity, both for the same reason; that I don't understand them.

If ever I was confronted by a female police officer brandishing one of those Tazer guns I'd let her do whatever she wanted to do to me, no hesitation and no problems, I'd be putty in her hands. When I see an electrician working away on wires I'm instantly filled with a sense of respect and admiration rather like a kid on a tricycle would watch a motorcycle stunt team.

The rice cooker was ready to go. I plugged it in and turned on the power at the plug socket. All was looking good. I went to flick on the switch on the rice cooker itself. At this point I had no idea of the disaster that was about to fall upon me, of the sheer magnitude and the emotional turmoil it would cause, of the way I'd have to fight through the crisis and push through the other side.

I casually flicked the on switch and "BANG" was the sound I heard. It happened instantly and my reaction was as quick and as sharp, like a finely tuned instrument or a leopard waiting for its prey. I jumped backwards, almost falling over the Brabantia bin and, with all the bravery you'd expect from a man of my measure I went:


It was a carefully thought out phrase, many would have thought it sounded like a scream, but it was carefully designed to scare an enemy and reduce him to a mere trembling heap. Miraculously it all happened so quickly that I hardly had time to think, my reactions were instant and it was over in the blink of an eye. I must have been unconscious for exactly twenty four hours for when I came to I saw that none of the clocks had changed, it was as if time had stood still and I was still hungry.

There was a smell of electrical burning and chicken curry. I realised that this was caused by electrical burning and chicken curry. My predicament was big, but my appetite was bigger. I was faced with a fresh pan of curry and a broken rice cooker. Like a fox that's professor of cunning at Oxford University I thought through my possible courses of action. There was one in which I used one of the many microwave packets of rice I have in stock, mostly for K. Another involved getting some rice from the Indian takeaway at the end of my road and the final one, the one that I eventually went with, was to use one of the two spare rice cookers I had in the cupboard.

I don't want you to think I'm spoilt here. I'm well aware that I'm one of the luckier ones, that there are some people in the world who might only have one rice cooker, but this was still a testing time for me. You see both of my spare rice cookers are those ones that always seem to burn the rice at the bottom, an annoying scenario indeed. I opted for the silver one, as it matched the decor, and I started again. When I got to switch flicking time I felt a bit nervous but more like a chap who has fallen of a horse and is keen to jump straight back in the saddle. I've never been on a horse let alone fallen off one but I've heard it's easy.

This time though, as I flicked the switch, there was nothing at all. No bang, no burning and no sign of any electrical looking lights. Things weren't good and I was getting hungrier and grumpier by the second. I ventured into the cupboard under the stairs and found a fusey looking thing that was in the off position. I turned it on, went back to the rice cooker and approached it again. This time all went smoothly. Twenty minutes later I was tucking into the rice and curry as I had planned.

My nerves had been shattered by the whole experience and I could only eat four or five helpings. The turmoil of losing a favourite rice cooker is great and weighs heavily on the mind. You'll be pleased to know that it looks like it may pull through after all. After some hours of surgery I've got it to a level in which it can cook rice but won't keep it warm once cooked. Or at least the keep warm light may not be working. It's not ideal but I might be able to work around this.

Luckily the episode hasn't put me off rice and curry. Unluckily I'm still shit scared of electricity, possibly a little bit more than I was before the explosion. Even now, as I think of it, I feel my heart speed up and a few beads of sweat on my forehead.

It's tough being a man!


Lady divine said...

hey, man or woman, it's tough being both I suppose..:)

Sorry to hear about your experience... these things happen..

once when I went on a trip with office folks, I had to share a room with this girl who's life is on the phone with her rock-band boyfriend.
I did not get any sleep coz, she was talking to him for over two hrs until the battery died..

then I thought, ah... finally some sleep..


In the dark, she decides to plug in her phone charger...does some shit.. and the fuse gets blown off!! and this was in Kandy, freezing cold.. and this woke everyone else!!! I'll never forget how annoyed I was!

Scrumpulicious said...

Lol! I'm not laughing at your misfortune honestly - you could have just boiled the rice in a pot no?


Webmaster said...

No Brabantia bins were harmed during this ordeal?

At least you got a fast track electrical engineering training out of it ;-)

Kind regards,

Webmaster Brabantia

L said...

Still laughing at LD's story! :-)

RD, don't know if its me, even though I would choose a rice cooker any day purely for convenience, for some reason rice boiled in a pot tastes nicer. In some countries they put a little olive oil at the bottom and stir in the rice to let it get coated and then add the water with a strand of that famous saffron you've been talking about!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Scrumpulicious - Boiled the rice? In a pot? With my reputation? Good God woman, what were you thinking?

Webmaster - I'm pleased to report that the brabantia was unharmed. As I jumped backwards I managed to do a swivelling arse thing and avoided the stainless steel beauty. I did hit my bum on the drawer, the cutlery one, but that's a small price to pay to save the bin.

dsome said...

Hello You

Welcome back. You seem to have brought some of the beautiful weather from Singapore. Thank you :)!

You are impossibly the only person I know who owns three rice cookers. RD, cup of rice, two cups of water, pyro dish, two cloves, two cardamoms, spoon of butter, microwave for 14 minutes. Fragrantly cooked basmathi, with little or no fuss...



T said...

welcome back RD. can i just say that i love the way you turn a perfectly ordinary incident into one of great hilarity :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Dhammika- Thanks, I may try this modern microwave method you speak of sometime!

T - Thanks too!

Dili said...

"If ever I was confronted by a female police officer brandishing one of those Tazer guns..."
Dude you do not want to go there.

3 cookers isnt crazy. As long as you use them and make delicious rice for all of us.

And kudos on yet another great post


Indyana said...

Wishing "A, your 14 year old" a wonderful year ahead,and many many more!

Dili said...

Birthday greets to A [which i should have done first :\ ] May she have the happiest future ever and may you tell us many more tales of her driving you round the bend.


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks for the compliments. Dili and Indyana, I would pass on your birthday wishes to A but it would blow my blog cover, which wouldn't be good!

Anonymous said...

funny RD

frightened of electricity and women. good.

L said...

Ok then, since you can't pass on greetings to her...wishing you the best during her years of teenagehood...and hope you live to tell the tale! :-) Cheers!