Monday, July 13, 2009


Any idea what the above is ? No guys, it isn't the latest version of the computer accessory we're more familar with nowadays than the typical household pest we learned to live with and tolerate. It's a battery operated can-opener.

Having had a miserable track record in can-openers, where
1) either the plastic coating came off and made the basic handling of the article a veritable torture
2) the grip seemed to loosen by the day, making our nerves as jittery as the can-in-waiting itself
3) the contraption came without a necessary part and it took us intellectuals a fortnight to reach enlightenment,
we finally decided to take a $18 worth plunge into the ocean of 'As-Seen-On-TV' items that even Aamir Khan could not resist . I, personally, am rather wary of the whole ad world in general, brought up as I was on a rigorous diet of post-1980s cultural studies at JUDE. And when it comes to risking several dollars in a new-fangled and over-hyped invention that may turn out to be a major flopshow after all, I promptly shy away. But there are times when K pretends to be completely oblivious to my perceptions of marketing in general and goes entirely by his whims. This was one of those red-letter instances.

The instruction on the manual seemed few and simple. First, one was supposed to insert two AA batteries into the designated grove. Now, batteries are the things that you somehow always seem to have spotted around the house a couple of days ago but now seem to have not even the faintest idea of their probable whereabouts. However, frantically searching our respective 'pet' storage areas, we managed to hunt a couple of them down. After this eventful start, we moved onto the actual functional aspect of the tool. All one was apparently supposed to do was place the can opener 'on top of the can with its rim positioned in the groove at the bottom of the can opener'. K proceeded to turn the thing over and study its underbelly.

After identifying the aforementioned 'groove', we moved onto instruction 2. This said that 'we had to place the can opener on a flat surface'. Fine. We positioned it on the kitchen countertop. Next we had to 'press the start button for about one second and release it' once the can opener started to cut the can. Here, we faced the second setback. Several such 'one second'-s passed. But the can opener simply refused to make any motion whatsoever, much less initiate its assigned role. K stopped and stared, first at the tool, and then at me.

I decided it was time I took over. I re-read the first two instructions. Try as I might, they had no hidden meaning and were simply not ambiguous enough to occasion any other intelligent interpretation. Crestfallen, we proceeded to try the whole series of steps all over again. No result.

K didn't look very happy. I did, since I was already anticipating this as another occasion most likely to climax with one of my "I-told-you-so" and "see, this-is-why-you-should-always-listen-to-your-wife" speeches. I was just considering the degree of conceit that should suit the speech, when K rudely intervened. "I think we need to recharge the batteries", he burst in, looking disgustingly confident and detestably hopeful. My face fell. So much for presumption.

He tried with the recharged batteries the next morning. Nothing happened. I cheered up.

As a last, futile attempt, K suggested, before leaving for office, that I try my hand at getting the thing to function. There's a reason underlying such an audacious hope. We bought a fruit/veggie chopper from Walmart a few months ago and after several hours of vain persuasion and brain/muscle-storming on K's part, he had washed his hands off the "damn thing" and handed it over to me. The next morning, after he had duly departed to discharge his engineering duties, I sat down on the sofa, read the entire instruction sheet, inspected the thing from all angles possible and after almost memorising the construction of the whole thing, actually (and quite miraculously, I must confess) managed to make it roar into function. Hence, the use of me as a last resort. I too, however, failed this time.

That very night, we re-read the manual, re-charged the batteries (once again !) and re-tried, on a different can. It worked ! All we had to do now was follow step 3, which ordered us to 'lift the Can Opener off the can. For your convenience, a magnet in the center of the One Touch Can Opener will pick up the lid as well'. That part was duly and quite uneventfully executed.

We finally got to the root of the problem. It appears that the surface of that particular can had not been level. Hence, the thing had failed to take off.


To be honest, I think, we were both relieved.

I think I'll soon put up a video of how the can-opener looks when work is in progress. It's really fun to watch.

Btw, here's an interesting photo for you . Had you ever imagined that an ordinary everyday capsicum can actually be made to metamorphose into a flower ? Have a look !

Now, this was a fun and educating read. It reminds me of this !

1 comment:

little boxes said...

its amazing how you bring life into everyday prosaic things!


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