Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Carton Chasers

Okay. So we are shifting and all that. From our current strange-scary-eclectic-nomadic-neighbours-but-friendly-strays to a fancy schmancy "gated complex", with a "Singapore Garden" (Every time the hero sees this, he grimaces with an almost physical pain and moans "I paid 2 lakhs extra for *@#&*@! #** Thing?") and some El Greco, almost –El-Fresco statuettes, which I find quite baffling.

So the last few months have been spent running around figuring out carpenters and plumbers and geysers and other exhausting utilitarian household durables, and finally the countdown to the shifting has begun.

Shifting unfortunately, means packing. Packing implies that one needs to have PACKING materials. Not too many choices – bags (all forms and shapes and sizes) and cartons. One of course, can't go around buying bags – there is the minor matter of where to store the dratted things after the shift. So cartons it is. Or so that was the logical conclusion that S and I had arrived at, at the start of this tale.

The next task was procurement of these said cartons. The big-fat-fridge carton, seductively inviting us with its alluring empty spaces, was already married to the fridge. The cooler box standing stiffly to attention in the gallery plastered with the trappings and photos of commitment defied us to come and defile it with anything else. The poor, squat microwave morosely stood lonesome and carton less. The pressure cooker carton's spirit was willing, but the size was not.

The geysers and the fan boxes, the MIL (who had got a head start in the packing race) had cunningly earmarked for her stuff.

Thus we start on the marathon Quest for the Holy Cartons.

Started out innocuously enough – turn the house upside down to see whether there are some cartons coyly lurking in some corner. We were lucky enough to locate ONE which managed to hold all of ten books (in a household where books outnumber the sum total of every other article, 2:1).

Okay. So no cartons at home. No problems. Let's go and buy some of them.

Supermarket 1
S: "Hi, we wanted to buy some cartons, would you have some?"
Blank stares.
They seem to not know what cartons are. The supplies apparently dematerialize from the warehouse only to spontaneously recompose into the supermarket aisles.

Supermarket 2:
Me: "Hi, do you sell cartons?"
An icy Goddess looks down in disdain at me and huffily says" No we don't".
Apparently we have trampled some sensibilities there.
Apparently, cartons cannot be brought over the counter either.

We decide to abandon the supermarkets and go to the friendlier climes of the mom & pop stores and see if we can sponge some off.

Grocery Shop 2
Me: (trying to ooze some charm) "Bhaiyya ji aapke paas khaili cartons hai?"Produces a agarbatti sized one. Some long explanations ensue. Interspersed with many questions on how and why we are shifting and the genealogy of the old and the new apartment till we satisfactorily establish some convoluted biradri-ka-rishta between the Pop's apartment and ours. We emerge triumphantly from the shop, carrying three cartons (medium sized) and one agarbatti box.

By this time, S who is notoriously low in patience in matters of a domestic nature is trying to wriggle out of the exercise. We can use the bags he proclaims grandiosely. What are they for? When I demur with murmurs of disproportionate baggage to bag ratio, he shushes me with a "well, we can always ferry luggage, empty it and go with empty bags across cant we?"

Well apparently not. We don't have places to empty the bags in. Unless we dump everything on the middle of the empty floor. But the MIL will have none of that.

So we (that means ME) are back into the carton quest.

The other day I go to our factory for a film shoot. Even in the midst of all the chaos my mind keeps on darting to the nice plump boxes sitting in the corner of the warehouse. While the crew is having lunch, I actually sneak there and try and juggle it around to see whether I can quietly pinch some. I exercise tremendous self restraint and refrain from doing so (partly because there is a CCTV balefully eyeing me and partly because it weights a ton)

Back in office I have the bright idea of raiding the supplies closet. For my pains, I get two coffee soaked apologies for boxes and a whole lot of amused and sceptical glances (!!!)

Yesterday, I MIGHT have reached a new low though. After weeks of dreaming about boxes and cartons. Big strapping durable boxes. I saw one such one JUST outside my house.

A 29 inch television box.
Quietly standing outside new neighbours’ house.
No neighbours in sight
Easy get away route.
The rest I leave to your imaginations.


P.S. I had written this about ten days ago, but since we WERE shifting, i didnt get around to posting it. Subsequently we have shifted. More on the Battles with the brooms and the murder of the mop and the chasing cooks later


hyde said...

Them packers and movers will have what you want, but doing it by yourself is more fun. :-P


Nandini Vishwanath said...

:) Been there, done that. Pain it is!

Rada said...

A moving post! Hehe!

In Pune, do they pronounce cartons as "cartoons" or is it only in Mumbai and here in Chennai?

Sud said...

what is MIL?

Cynic in Wonderland said...

hyde - have you SEEN the way those fellers pack? They invert contents of the drawers into boxes. Some stuff, unfortunately needs to be treated in a bit less cavalier fashion

nandini - oh yes it is

rada - oh the bearded one cracks pjs :(

sud = MIL scary person who is matrilineally related to the husband?

IdeaSmith said...

LOL carton-chor, carton-chor, pakdo pakdo!

The last time I shifted, the movers and packers brought cartons with them. That's probably not useful now but I thought I'd get my two-bit in nevertheless.

Iya said...

hey..u shud have just called the movers and packers...u have some guts doing it urself..
and i just hope ur MIL doesnt visit this comment section LOL...

Cynic in Wonderland said...

ok for the record we DID call movers and packers and they DID get cartons along.

However there is some stuff, which had to be packed in cartons thus the race.

pack the whole thing on my own - aiyo rama no.

ideasmithy *shush* not so loud

iya - hope she doesnt ever know that the blog exists!

Vikram said...

Congratulations on your new place!

The last time we moved, we just used our bedsheets to carry stuff -dhobi ishtyle ;) if you understand what I am saying.

Sud said...

ahhh, that what it means. Is it like a commonly used acronym and am I the only idiot who didn't know

shub said...

haha! they'd probably filched it from some unsuspecting neighbour themselves;)

Cynic in Wonderland said...

out of circulation for while. sprained righ hand wrist. will be back.

Epiphany said...

Sprained wrist while disposing of the carton?? Sorry bad zoke :)... Coming from a Fauji family, we had wooden boxes made for each move...I gotta say it was FUN!

Drenched said...

Hahahahaha! *runs around in streets shouting* Carton thief! Carton thief! *decides to report the Cynic to the police for stealing cartons in a country where there's severe lack of them, as shown by her quest*
Who sprained your wrist? Did you get caught stealing another carton and this was your punishment? :P

Never Mind!! said...

Funny! And really are cartons that scarce? My parents lived in the same house for about 35 years and never moved so have no idea.

chandni said...

1congratulations!! I am sure its worth the effort :)

can't wait to hear of more battles!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

vikram -thank you and would you like to be my MIL?

sud - its like jargon used in particular lifestages. after one gets enrolled in, you will hear nothing BUT these acronyms.

shub - hmmm but they had moved no. but thank you i feel better.

epiphany. bah! sprained wrist from tumbling down hympty dumptyisque style. fallen woman. thats me. actually i did a whole lot of moving too - but the onus was on the mother no? first time i had to do it.

drenched. shush. what is with all you people screaming it out eh? eh?

never mind - now that i have shifted i can see them everywhere. they are positively multiplying like rabbits from places. sigh

chandni thank you verr muchly

Girl With Big Eyes said...

I've moved house in India 3 times in the last 3 years and had similar paiful experiences with 'cartons'.

Over here in London, I saw these empty neatly stacked beside a popular retailer outlet. My survival instinct made me immediately stop in my tracks and I actually considered carrying some with me from the street! :)

Finally, I didn't. Hope I won't regret this late.

Lekhni said...

It sounds like a business opportunity for someone - here, you get cartons in all office supplies shops. Small, medium and large cartons, specifically designed cartons for jackets, for mirrors and so on. I should know, I went carton hunting too once!