- Santosh Vattam for correcting tonnes of grammatical mistakes.
- Sudarshan for anchoring the concept into sketch.
- Friends: Punchagan, Ritesh, Nandeep, Ashish for comments, feedback, suggestions, support, and encouragement.
Continuing from part 1…
Madhu heard a thud at the gate and she stood up to peek through the window to see what was going on. It was her husband, Mahinder, struggling to open the gate and balance his scooty. As the gate opened fully he again took hold of his scooty properly and started pushing it.
He wasn't riding the scooty, he was walking along with it, balancing it. He wasn't just walking with it, he was also pushing it. Madhu, curious about the commotion, reached the door to see things better.
"What have you dragged this time honey?" Madhu said.
मधु: इस बार आप क्या उठा लाए आप(प्रिये)?
Mahinder, wiping the sweat over his forehead with his sleeve and taking a small break from pushing, said, "Nothing much yaar, It's a battery."
महिन्दर: कुछ नहीं यार, एक बेटरी है।
"You went to Parmanad Jis house right? To setup their new battery and something else?", Madhu asked.
मधु: आप तो परमान्नद जी के यहां नई बैटरी या कुछ तो करने गए थे ना?
Parmanand Ji(परमान्नद जी) was one of most successful businessmen(बहुत बड़े व्यापारी) in Jaiselmer(?).
Mahinder, continuing to push his scooty to the shade and nearly out of breath, said, "Yeah, to install a new battery and to setup a booster. This is their older battery which they no longer needed and were struggling to get rid off, so I offered to take it from them."
"And they just gave it you?", Madhu asked, surprised.
Mahinder, a bit annoyed by all the talk and no help, said, "Yes, they were very relieved actually. Now can you please help me out here?"
Madhu suddenly realized, the heat, condition of scooty and the way Mahinder was balancing all of it. She flushed a bit and rushed to help him. As they both tried to push she realized how hard it was. Mahinder was pushing the scooty with all his might and it was barely moving. With great effort, they finally managed to push the scooty to shade, put it on main stand and prepared to take the jute bag, which contained the battery. It looked bulky. As Madhu reached out to hold one end of the bag, Mahinder panted, "Careful, it is heavy."
महिन्दर: ध्यान से, भारी है।
"I can see that. Scooty is almost dead and you, like a fool, are hauling this around half the city in this crazy summer afternoon. Why you do things like this. Why won't you get an Auto or mini-van or even a cart(Camel or Ox) to bring it here. Ughhh…. Mahinder, at times, you make me so mad.", said Madhu, exasperated.
मधु: दिख रहा हे मेरे को! महिन्दर आप ऐसा क्युं करते हो? भरी दुपहरी में एस भार को ढ़ो रहे हो। एक रिक्शा कर लेते तो क्या हो जाता। क्या यार आप भी….
Mahinder didn't say anything. He knew better. They untied the battery from the seat of the scooty. They both synchronized to balance the weight of battery and slowly took it down and kept it directly on the बरांमडा. "Lets drag the bag inside to the drawing room instead of carrying it.", he said. They dragged the bag against the floor. The bag almost tore by the time they were inside the drawing room. Both Madhu and Mahnider were sweating like a pig.
Madhu fetched some water from the earthen pot, increased the fan speed of AC and they both relaxed a bit on the Sofa before resuming the conversation.
Mahinder said, "Yaar, I tried to get auto, but in the afternoon the whole city was deserted, no pun intended. There was no one on the street, I waited for almost half an hour before deciding to drag it myself."
Madhu wasn't looking convinced.
"Seriously yaar. Its almost 44 Degree outside. And I wanted to get out of Parmanand ji's house with this battery before he changed his mind of giving it away."
Madhu's attention shifted to battery. She lifted the flaps of the bag to see what kind of battery it was. It felt like it weighed tonnes.
Mahinder Continued, "Parmanand Ji's grandson sent him some new battery from Umreeka. They tried to get it hooked up but their regular electrician wasn't able to understand how to do it(उसको चमका नहीं). So Parmanandji called me up. I looked up the specs for the battery, saw some DIY videos on what's needed to set it up and realized that the power supply voltage Parmanand Ji have is not compatible with the battery. So I said, you will need booster to get more voltage(बूसटर लगाना पडेगा). As I finished that up and was about to leave I noticed this battery(gesturing towards the jute bag). I asked about it and they said, they had been using this battery from past 3-4 years. They were not able to figure out how to charge it completely. It never went beyond 30-40% and when they called electricians she wasn't able to help out either. Last month their grandson was visiting them and he got really frustrated of the heat and constant load shedding between the AC and other appliances. As he returned to Umreeka, he shipped this new battery to them. They said the older batter, when they first got it was fully charged and was wonderful. The charge lasted for almost an year for them and they never noticed any fluctuation between power as they used their devices, no matter how many of those they used.
Madhu noticed "Simba" logo on the battery. She almost jumped from her seat.
"How did Parmanand Ji got his hands on this battery?!", asked Madhu.
"You know what is this?", Mahinder responded with his own question.
"Yes I do, but How did Paramanand Ji got it?", asked Madhu again.
"They said that one of their Son-in-law, who does export of grains went with the goods to the port, Kandla possibly. Their in the shipyard, one ship was getting dismantled.", said Mahinder.
Madhu corrected him, "I think you mean Alang port. That's where ships get dismantled and the scrapes are sold in कबाड के भाव।"
"Yes, yes, that's what I mean., That's where he got this battery from his friend apparently and then he gave it to Parmanand ji." Mahinder finished.
"And those idiots! they never realized what they got!", Madhu said, excitedly.
"You mean, this battery is good?", inquired Mahinder
Mahinder, feeling relieved, said, "Good! That means I didn't just haul a dead weight in this scorching heat?"
"We will get back to that machismo a bit later. Lets focus on battery for now.", said Madhu still a bit annoyed by Mahinder's adventure.
"Pray continue. What is it?", said Mahinder grinning.
"Well, the battery is from this startup in Africa, Simba. Look at the logo. They had figured out a unique way to charge the battery and keep it going for long time.", Madhu explained.
"I tried to search the name and logo yaar, I didn't find anything.", Mahinder replied.
"Yeah, well, the startup got acquired by this giant shipping company and they pulled back all their batteries from the consumer markets. They started using these batteries exclusively for their containers hauling goods across the world.", Madhu continued.
"Containers? Those giant ones? They run on batteries?!", asked Mahinder, surprised.
Madhu, patiently continued explaining, "Well, 20-30 years ago, in 2020s as mass protests started against major corporation to stop using fossil fuels. The Shipping industry was the most affected from those protests. They nearly brought the whole global trade to halt."
"Ohh, yeah I remember that, we were taught in school about it.", remembered Mahinder.
"Bingo! Heh, it seems like you were paying attention to history lessons after all. Yes, so they were looking for alternatives and were trying different things for long time. Until one of the company came across this battery and this startup about 5 years ago and they aggressively acquired the startup. It was one of biggest exits of an African tech company. The shipping firm pulled back all the batteries sold in consumer market, there weren't many actually. And since then, these batteries are just used with those ships and it is crazy hard to get one. You should see bidding wars which goes on EBay for these batteries. I wonder how Parmanand Ji didn't realize it.", explained Madhu.
"Oh they had so many complains on how they were not able to get rid of this battery. No one was ready to repair it or even take if off of them.", replied Mahinder
"Until you showed up today. Ohh man, this is so good."
Madhu was really excited about the prospects of the battery. She had a spark in her eyes.
Mahinder, picking up on Madhu's excitement, said, "Is it? How so? Do you think we can charge it?"
"We can put together something to hook it up.", replied Madhu.
Mahinder: Hook it up? It wasn't going beyond 20-30% charge on power supply Parmanad Ji had. We don't even have one third of their capacity. How will we charge it?", answered Mahinder a little concerned.
Madhu said, "Well, I didn't say it would be easy."
"But still, hook it up to what?" asked Mahinder.
"Lightning!" replied Madhu.