Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Unsung Heroes

We all remember Edison for inventing the bulb, Babbage for the computer, Baird for the TV and so on and so forth but does anyone really care for who invented the refrigerator or liquid soap or birth control pills for that matter? Listed below are what I think some of the most important unsung inventions (I might be misusing the word invention in some places but you get what the basic idea is, don't you?):
  • Air conditioner: The reason why I place the air conditioner at the top of the list is I am from Kolkata. For those of you who haven't really heard the name and find it hilarious with the 27 different ways you can pronounce it, Kolkata is the closest you can get to hell...40 degree temperatues with 97% humidity is not something you would be talking about on the phone to your second cousin from Agra - it's way too common. Sir Willis Haviland Carrier - you to me are GOD and I want to make sure that the Kolkata mayor confers on you a posthumous award in Victoria Memorial.

  • Contact lenses: From the bespectacled nerdy over-winking (P.S. it's not over-wanking) kid to the dark, tall, handsome(?) guy - yup contact lenses made it possible. I could pretty much add one of those before-after picture comparisons showing how much my life has changed. Okay, that's a bit too much of exaggeration. Alright here's the truth - waking up every morning and putting in the lenses is sure a pain but I don't have to deal with glasses slipping down my nose in the sticky Kolkata heat or having disfigured frames when taking basketball rebounds. Sir Otto Wichterle...I owe you one.

  • Deodorant: Imagine standing in an over-crowded Kolkata bus on a humid summer day with people reaching out to the handle for dear life. Now add to that Mount Fujiyama sized sweat patches forming under their arm-pits. And finally add to that the 99% humidity powered sweat stink (I told you it's the closest you can get to hell). In comes the life saver ... deodorant. If you are a regular bus commuter, you can't thank Helen Barnett Diserens enough for it.

  • TV Remote Control: Post 1956, waist sizes have been shown to be larger, eyes more watery and legs heavier. Post 1956, laziness has a new name - the TV remote control. All of that said and done, can you really watch TV without the remote control? Imagine watching TB6 Mockba at 11.32 in the night and your Mom walks in. Can you switch to Discovery Channel and fake interest in the cheetahs when you are thinking of other wild things, without the remote control? The remote control has made TV watching an absolute delight.

  • Condoms: The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of condoms is the Indian-Pakistani condom-chewing gum joke. The next thing that comes to my mind is India is a country of 1 billion and counting. Laugh about the first thing, think about the second one and you would agree - condoms do deserve a mention here.

  • Lunch buffets: Soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, biryanis, chaats, curries, naan, pastries, mousse, ice cream and more. One helping, two helpings, three helpings, twenty three and a half helpings. Lunch buffets are awesome - they take care of half the world's hunger problem, Brangelina adopt the rest.

  • Bum washer: Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty with the work, and sometimes even after the work. But the bum washer comes in as a fine jet of water that doesn't require you to get your hands dirty, atleast not after the work.

P.S. The inventor names that I have put up are the ones returned by Google in the first 4-5 search results. I did not really burn midnight oil searching half the world's libraries for dust-laden books on the same. So I might be wrong with some of them - in case I am, please do correct me.

1 comment:

PUJA said...

I think you missed out on who invented beer?! :-)