Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Hunt for LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas)

As is usually the case -- living in rural Punjab, India -- there is quite a struggle for getting cooking gas or LPG (liquified petroleum gas). As much as we try to make a full tank last forever, it does run out and we have to go through the usual run around to get a full one.

HP LPG tanks (photo from

The thing is, unlike in the cities or major towns, there is hardly any delivery service around where we live if you are an HP (Hindustan Petroleum) customer. The other LPG company, Indian Oil, sends its truck once a week to the village Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) so that villages can get their empty LPG cylinders replaced with full ones. But us HP customers... We need to practically crawl and beg to get our tanks.

You would think that we should simply switch companies -- believe you me, we are dying to do just that. But, being in the country we are in... Nothing is ever easy. To switch to another LPG supplier, we need to let go of the old one (which would be a huge relief) but, due  to certain quirks of the way things work around here, switching to another agency of the same company is easy but switching to another company is not as simple.

So, this time, we had called the HP agency in town to get a booking number. Of course -- them being who they are -- they never answered answer any of their two landlines (and we were trying almost non-stop for two days). We then decided to go to their agency to get the booking and when I asked when we could get the LPG tank, they said the following week. 

The following week, we go to their agency to ask if we could get the tank, they gave us a stub but said we could only get the actual tank the following Monday at Sotran village. We went to the place where they were supposed to distribute the tanks that Monday and the folks there said the agency had said their trucks will not be coming. So we again went to the agency office where we were informed that we could get the tank on March 20th, 2013. 

The long line for LPG at Sotran village last March 20th 2013
Yesterday, we left our home (Dad was with me) and we drove to Sotran. There was a line that was pretty long and Dad asked me to wait in the car (the people standing in line were all male and I would be sticking out like a sore thumb). While I had to wait in the car, I decided to take some pictures of a small village pond. (I had to amuse myself somehow).

Small Pond at Sotran Village
I was hoping to get a picture of the lone duck in the pond but all I had was a mobile phone camera and it was unable to zoom in without distortions. I even shot a picture of those birds' nests on a tree. 
Birds' nests hanging on a tree

After an hour, the truck finally came and there was a mad scramble to have payments recorded so that new tanks can be given. Dad asked me to handle the paying for the tank as he has to guard the empty LPG tank (people steal them if left unguarded). Thank goodness, someone said to give the only female (moi) a chance first. I managed to pay for the tank, get the empty tank from Dad, carry it to the guy at the back of the truck, show him my stub and receive the full tank.

Only when we loaded the full LPG tank in the trunk of the car did Dad and I manage to feel some relief. Dad said we can enjoy another month and a half until the next mad scramble. Sigh... 

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Posted by: Bames Pabla
Bames Live, Updated at: 5:24 PM

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