Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Laurel and Hardy Part 2

(contd. from part 1)
Once we had reached the room, the Laurel and Hardy act went into overdrive. Now our room had already been fitted with an AC by the previous resident. Unfortunately, he took it with him when he left, but kindly left the fittings as they were. So I assumed fitting in the AC in the hole already available would be a piece of cake. I was sadly mistaken. The first problem was that the 'new' AC, as befitted its vintage was way too large for the hole that already existed. This was quite obvious, I thought, but obviously I was wrong. Hardy got up on a table that I had placed just below the hole and ordered Laurel and me to hand him the frame of the AC. Of course, this was easier said than done and finally involved both of us squeezing in on the table along with him in a jumble of sweaty limbs and then attempting to push the thing into the hole. As anyone could have seen from the beginning, this was a futile endeavour and we soon had to give up and get down, followed by the hearty curses of Hardy who could not for the life of him imagine how we could be so stupid as to not see that the dashed thing was just too big!!

Now that he was up on the table, (which feat had been accomplished with much huffing and panting!), he was loathe to come down! He put his hands in his pockets and began to consider the next line of action. Suddenly, he pulled out a measuring tape with a light of discovery in his eyes and cursed Laurel for not having reminded him that he possessed one! The next 20 minutes were as comical as they come. Hardy proceeded to measure the frame of the AC and then the hole in the wall at least some 5 times over in rapid succession. Each time he would make some marks with a pencil he had produced on the wood and each time the position of the marks would change. And since each measurement involved dismounting the table and then getting back on again, there was much sweating and cursing involved. Finally when there were so many marks that further measurement was obviously futile, he asked for the frame again. Further confusion and stress ensued. It turned out that he meant to place the frame against the wood and then draw all around it. Easier said than done! Just as we had got the thing into position, he placed the pencil on the wood and then, promptly dropped it! In the precarious position that we three were in, recovery of the pencil was only achieved by all of us climbing down and starting from scratch again. Just as we were maneuvering the frame into position, Hardy suddenly exclaimed that we were quite useless and said he would do it by himself. Wondering what was up, we climbed down and realised that the plywood surrounding the hole would come off completely if pulled! Once it was off, it was a small matter to get the right measurement! I thought the worst was over and we were now home and dry. Of course, I was wrong again!

It turned out after all the measuring that the wood was just too small for the monstrosity we had brought along and Hardy said we needed to get a new one. So off he went, Laurel in tow and did not reappear for 2 hours, probably after a good lunch and restful afternoon siesta! When they came back and we were all set for round 2 of the battle, he could not find the measuring tape!! This led to a frenzied search by Laurel and me with Hardy standing on the table bellowing instructions and gaalis of  increasing frequency and pitch! Finally, he got down from the table and joined the search. Just when things were beginning to get a little ugly, he found it in his pocket! That was the only time in the whole afternoon that I saw a look approaching reproach from the long-suffering Laurel!

I will spare you further details of that long and highly entertaining afternoon for fear that you will not believe me. But I strongly stand by my veracity on the matter. It seemed unbelievable at the time and it still does, but the fact of the matter is that the afternoon meandered from one blunder to the next in unbelievably predictable fashion! Of course, the expected mistake of cutting the hole too large was committed. (We have remedied the problem with a large amount of sticky tape.) Then I watched in amazement as the two of them attempted to hammer the nails into the wood to attach the frame in place. I have hammered a few nails (and a few of my fingers!) in my time and I really belive I would have done a better job than them. It must have been strong wood, for I cannot believe that anyone's technique can be as bad as those two! For every nail that went in all crooked and loose, there were at least 3 that had to be discarded after they had taken such convolutions that there was just no hope of straightening them ever again. About halfway through the afternoon, they remembered their power drill and then proceeded to drill away with gay abandon, making many more holes than they had nails. Here too the technique was questionable and there were quite a few times when the drill slipped and passed dangerously close to hands that were holding the wood in place.

Suffice to say that at the end of the afternoon, the AC was up - all crooked and loose, but up all the same. And then came the most unbelievable part of the afternoon. They turned it on and would you believe it, it didn't work!! These guys had not checked the thing before they started!! At this point, my temper began to wear a little thin, I must admit! For I saw the whole process being repeated for another AC and that was something I was just not looking forward to! Hardy too had reached the end of his tether by now. He got down and called someone on the cell phone and they talked for sometime. Finally, he got back up and began dismantling the thing from the front. I am still grateful that after about 20 minutes of pottering around, he managed to get it to work. I could not imagine another afternoon like that in the near future!!

But after all the sweat and blood that had been expended it was a happy duo who finally surveyed their achievement. I guess it was just all in a days work for them, but for me it had been quite an afternoon! Had it not been for the element of humour that pervaded all the proceedings and the good-nature of our parting, it is unlikely that this chronicle would have taken the light-hearted vein that it has! But then, what's the fun of life if we can't laugh at the funny things that happen to us! And after all, an afternoon with Laurel and Hardy is not something that many people can boast of!!


  1. Real good reading Arpit. Thanks for lighting up our day. We laughed helplessly. Good learning from Jerome K Jerome and good philosphy 'laughter is the best medicine'

  2. See, just as I had suspected it didn't work in the first place. Thank God they knew how to fix it.

    Truly enjoyed the proceedings. Please share more on things like this.

    I am sure Laurel and Hardy are making someone else' afternoon as entertaining as this one as we speak. Quite interesting.

  3. Hi Arpit,
    I could very well see the crowd on the rickshaw along the brown road..and the heat of the 5th floor accomodation... You might find things get curiouser and curiouser once you start working there.. all the good wishes,
    Please keep blogging and keep the humour intact(which could be a tough thing some times there)