The Aladdin's Cave

Hi, thanks for stopping by! The dictionary defines the idiom “The Aladdin’s Cave” as “a collection of interesting and beautiful objects”. Likewise, my website is a potpourri where you can browse and read from a variegated collection of articles on sundry subjects. Be prepared to stumble upon pieces ranging from noodles to analytics and from novels to friendships. Like what you read? Thanks a ton for being such a sweetheart. Don’t find it up to the mark? Well, blame it on back-breaking expectations ;) Jolly Reading!

Tag: Drown

Washed Your Credit Card?

You know how they say you never know what life’s going to teach you next? Please don’t ask me who says that; I just know that many people do. Yeah, and they are quite right about it too. Here’s what life chose to teach me this past weekend – you can put your credit card (CC) through a wash cycle, and it will (probably) live to continue paying your bills. If you have read my blog before, I know exactly why your super-critical mind is telling me off at this very moment – ‘Huh, first she drowns her Nexus phone, and now she bathes her credit card’. Well, let me tell you that I took a good two-years-eight-months break between these two unlucky washouts. Now allow me to get back to my informative story because I think this one is going to take a while.

Like all of you, I have my usual pick of alibis (been traveling/busy/sick/lazy) for ‘not been able’ to have done my laundry when I should have. And then, ‘really not been able to have done it’ much later after this ‘should have’ date. As a result, there had been bucket-loads and bagsful of clothes demanding immediate attention for a while.

And then it happened this Saturday night: Gunjan officially ran out of clothes (another good reason to not be allergic to shopping). It was one of those ‘laundry today or naked tomorrow’ kind of situations, you know. It was then that we finally decided to wash anything that says machine washable, and then some others too. Armed with a generously loaded laundry card, detergents and fabric softeners, we hauled bags full of rags (and some fineries too – because we are too lazy to wash them by hands) to the laundry room. Gunjan and I started dumping the clothes in the machines (er, took three of them), and by the end of this activity, we realized that the last machine was quite unsatisfactorily filled. You know, it was one of those annoying situations when you just hate the asymmetry caused by this one under-loaded machine. Not getting a wash worth a dollar and seventy-five suddenly seemed to be a really big deal, and we simply could not ignore the pesky imbalance. To remedy this situation, I rushed back to our apartment upstairs to see if there was any washable linen lying around that had slyly escaped us earlier. Even after putting together a little pile of semi-dirty stuff, it seemed that my imaginary scale (mentally weighing the three washing machines now) would still be a little off and I was having this compulsive need to correct this misalignment. I reckoned that the trousers that I was wearing wouldn’t mind an early wash, so I changed in a flash and threw my trousers in the pile too. With this newly acquired somewhat-filthy plunder, I reached the laundry room again, and we hugged and celebrated the much-awaited gurgling and rumbling of the (perfectly-loaded) machines in action. (Judge me all you want until I find out your crazy idiosyncrasy and judge you back!)

Two episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. later, we rushed down to transfer the freshly clean clothes to the dryers. Now, imagine my shock when I saw my American Express Credit Card and my Discover Card sitting helplessly amongst the wet clothes. Oh, how I rued hastily stuffing these two cards in my pocket two hours ago when we had stepped out for a bite. I really don’t know why I can’t simply carry my wallet for these quick things (or at the very least, carry just one of these cards). And Gunjan – oh, he who is such a devotee to all things bearing magnetic disks and magnetic strips – oh, poor thing – I really must stop doing this to him. I don’t have the heart to describe his horror on witnessing this sight. Let me just say that at this point, I would have gladly accepted the vexation caused by a trio of unevenly-loaded machines than that caused by a pair of freshly-washed CCs.

Washed Your Credit Card?

Accidentally in Machine

It’s not like procuring a new copy of a CC is particularly challenging. But this blatant display of such shockingly irresponsible behavior did cast a pall over the joyful laundry session. Gunjan was too disturbed by the treatment meted out to the cards to say much – more so, after I pulled out a $20 bill from the pocket of the trouser that I had hastily added to the load. Even though I should kick myself for this third unintentionally-washed item, I will admit that it contributed in making his consternation complete and rendering him totally speechless. Hence, I had mixed feelings about this uber-hygienic albeit heedlessly-laundered bill. With dented spirits, we completed the drying part of the laundry session and ended the day with clean clothes but no hopes (for our cards).

Then, instead of resting on the seventh day (Sunday), I stepped out with two spotless but potentially dysfunctional cards (to test them out) and one not-so-spotless but functional card (as a backup). I picked a few random stuff (say ‘n’ of them) in Jewel-Osco, pretended to forget one of these n items in the cart and proceeded to pay for the (n-1) goods with one of the speckless CCs. As the sales assistant requested me to swipe my card, I was already fingering the backup CC in my other hand. The ‘payment approved’ message alleviated most of the nervousness that I was feeling, and gave me high hopes for the other unlucky CC. Not choosing to celebrate too soon, I duly acted out my part of forgetting the nth item in the cart, and now presented the second CC to make this payment. It suffices to say that this transaction elicited distinctly different reactions from the payer (who switched from a gloomy to a remarkably celebratory mode) and the sales assistant (who could hardly comprehend the reason for the payer’s joyfulness, relief and sense of achievement over this most mundane chore).

Thanks a lot, if you have stuck with me and my CCs through this rather long post and I sincerely hope that you never have the misfortune of laundering your bill-paying instruments. But in case you do, remember my story and stay hopeful. Even though I do not have the evidence to make a blanket statement like ‘Voila! Credit cards are waterproof’, I can say from experience that all may not be lost, and visiting a store to use a squeaky clean CC is definitely worth a shot!

Oh, in case you are wondering, the $20 bill managed to survive the wash too! 🙂

Take care!

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The Nexus 4 Redemption

Hello Friends!

I admit that my capacity to dilly-dally before actually posting an article (if at all) is quite impressive. But in this case, I am allowing an aberration. And I have a sound reason to do that. If this post saves the life of even a single phone, the effort will be worthwhile.

We all have our own phone stories. Quite often, more than one.
So here’s my story:

Yesterday night, I did the unthinkable. You see, one second my phone was on the basin and the next second it was in a bucket of water. Just like that. Slipped and slushed! I must have had about two minor heart attacks in that one second! I scooped it out, as fast as Flash, but the sight of my dripping Google Nexus 4 made me want to go and drown myself somewhere. Maybe in the same bucket! 🙁

Okay, another thing – Gunjan almost worships electronic gadgets. I love them too – we all do – but he is really, really devoted to them. I contemplated not telling him about it as I suspected that he might seek to initiate criminal proceedings against me. But my conscience didn’t allow me keep mum because I owed at least that much to my Nexus 4. It needed to be attended to. And quickly so. And by the right person. Not by someone who could have been so careless as to let it soak in water!

So, mustering all my courage, I broke the devastating news to him. I can’t describe what he went through. He was positively distraught. And I was not wrong about the criminal proceedings. He was looking daggers at me, feeling totally betrayed by such alarming irreverence. And I, with the guilt of my heinous crime weighing me down, held my head low and stared numbly at my phone.

And about the braveheart – prima facie, my phone looked just fine. The touch worked as beautifully as ever. The display was as perfect as it comes. But we still weren’t too hopeful. Neither would you be if your Nexus 4 was leaking from every little port! 🙁 And then came the blow. Gunjan tried to play ‘Payphone‘ (no pun intended – we were totally not in the mood 🙁 ) using PowerAmp but it seemed that ‘Maroon 5‘ had lost their voice! Dejected, Gunjan declared that the bucket of water had rendered the gadget as useless as a bottomless bucket.

Having hit a dead end, we did what we all do in such situations – resorted to Google. We looked up a few YouTube videos and out came the tool boxes. After a lot of tedious trials, we pried it open. The fine assortment of ICs, buttons, sensors, chips – which make Nexus what it is – lay before our eyes. I admit that it’s not meant to be treated this way – you don’t wedge apart Google Nexus 4
. It’s nothing short of a violation. But then, you don’t even drop it in a bucket of water!

So after bringing it apart, Gunjan used my hair dryer and tried to dry out every nook and cranny in the panel. Meanwhile, the guilt-ridden me (besides appealing to every God up there) was googling like crazy and going bonkers reading forums. Do you wanna know why? Because I thought it was some kind of a freaking joke. People had suggested to bury the phone in a bag of rice!!! Yes, you heard it right! I thought that in their grief, other unfortunate Nexus-drowning fellows like me had lost their thinking faculties. But I cannot deny that the success stories on the forums kept my dawdling hope just alive.

After drying the panel as best as he could, Gunjan switched on the poor thing. Unable to accept the outrageous treatment meted out to it, the phone continued to act deaf and dumb and ignore all our fervent pleas. If I called on my number, all it did was feebly croon “Glad You Came” and that’s it. You could scream your lungs into the mic after receiving the call but the other person on the line wouldn’t hear a thing. Neither could you. And if you switched on the speaker, wildly distressing noises forced you to end the call.

Having tried out every trick in the book and devoid of all hope, Gunjan and I (so not united in grief – he was still contemplating suing me) joined the loony group and turned to the mysterious box of rice. Normally, he won’t let me keep a grain of rice on Nexus but today, we both dug in the pile, placed the violated device in the dent, covered it with rice and then closed the box. I can’t tell you how disturbingly similar the rice burial ceremony seemed to a final goodbye.

Saving Private Nexus

In a stupor, we went to sleep. There was nothing left to do but wait.

Morning came and we rushed to exhume my phone. After retrieving it from it’s purported rice grave, Gunjan put the SIM card back in the slot. Mercifully, the panel was parch dry and there weren’t any signs of seepage. He switched it on and it looked just fine. Then, with fluttering hearts, we played ‘Payphone’ again and trust me when I say this, even ‘Maroon 5’ couldn’t be as happy hearing their own song as we were. The crystal clear sound resounded in our room, announcing the restoration of the speakers.
Heady with success, we used my Google Nexus 4‘s kin (Yes, Gunjan too has the same phone and it had been eyeing me with disgust since last night) to call my number. And there – when we could both hear each other’s repeated ‘Hellos’ on the line – that truly was a ‘Dear Diary’ moment! :-):-)

Yes, the life-infusing white grains did the trick! Believe it or not, rice worked like a charm! It worked as a desiccant and healed my ailing, weeping phone. And my Google Nexus 4 is up and alive again! Bless you Google for making such a beautiful and resilient cell! Overnight, my love for the phone has increased exponentially!

And yes, lesson learnt!

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