Different people are dealing with the present cooking gas shortage in the city differently. For instance, my friend, who lives on the 21 st floor and once used to consume six truck-loads of gas cylinders every day, had invited me for dinner last night and was talking about his problems.
"Have some court-bouillon with white wine," he said, signalling the butler to serve me. "It is becoming very difficult to have a hot meal without gas. Daily I have to send out my planes to get gas from Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Banglore. And when the planes go there, they give them one cylinder at a time."
"So much trouble," I sympathised.
"Have some omelette souffle," he said. "I tried to pay off the mathadi workers. Never mind, I said to myself, a few lakhs of rupees here and there, at least they would start delivering gas again. But the Kamgar Sena said no, as long as Hindustan Petroleum does not assure that only their workers would be employed, there will be no loading and unloading of gas."
"A pity," I said.
"Have some saumon a la Genevoise," my friend said. "I am getting some gas cylinders from abroad, but everytime you have pass them through the customs and pay the custom-wallas some money on the side. Then bring them home and reconvert them so that we can use them in our stoves. It is too much trouble."
"Yes," I said, "that is the case with anything foreign you buy."
"Have a filet do sole pompadour." My friend said. "I have tried to get food from outside and eat it, but it does not agree with me. So now I get it only for the servants. They eat it, I eat home food."
"Nothing like home food," I said. "You can keep your five-stars."
"Have some wings of fowl a la St. Laurent," my friend said. "My micro-wave cook is also on leave, otherwise I could have used the micro-wave more. Really, you are handicapped when gas is not available."
"Have you tried cooking with kerosene oil?" I asked.
"What are you saying! Do you know how much kerosene costs! I can't afford it. Diamond merchants may be able to afford it, not I," my friend said. "Have a gateaux a la Madeline."
"So what are you going to do?" I asked.
"I am having a pipeline laid, from Bombay High to my kitchen," my friend said. "I will then have a direct supply of gas. If you like, you can bring your cylinder here and fill it, once a month."