No, not that type of fan– the star-obsessed weirdo, the one who tried to attract Jodie Foster’s attention by shooting President Reagan decades ago, or the jilted look-alike trying to destroy his idol in SRK’s 2016 Bollywood release.
Not the old–fashioned wooden or cane punkha either. Neither the small hand-held ones we used during power-cuts a few years ago nor the majestic ones described in old novels – those that presided over the dinner table at parties and solemnly swayed to and fro when the fan-boy tugged on a rope.
This fan is the sleek modern appliance that rotates at the press of a switch, a paragon of efficiency much worshipped during the scorching heat of an Indian summer. When it’s so hot outside that the yellow copper-pod flowers scattered over distant patches of grey tarred road resemble sparks of fire, that’s when you really thank science and technology for the gift of a fan as you step indoors. Yet the fan that provides a blessed respite can occasionally be a hot-tempered beast too, as I found out recently.
For many years, in a certain young lady’s room, a sample of that appliance had hung calmly and uncomplainingly and provided exemplary service. But one day, without warning of any sort, it flung itself at the floor and collided with her on the way there, busting her jaw among other injuries.
That used to be one of my childhood fears; that a fan might detach itself from the ceiling, and, blades still whirring nastily, neatly slice through my neck as it fell. But my mother assured me that such things don’t happen and I believed her.
Which other nightmares was she wrong about, I wonder.