Guest Post Series: My Grandfather (post published here unbeknownst to him and via an e-mail to me)

When I was in Jeffersonville, two salespersons, a boy and a girl, visited our house [in Islamabad], congratulated [Aunty R] on having won a hi-tech camera in a lottery and sold her some washing powder. We had never participated in any lottery and anyway the "prize" was too "sophisticated" for anyone in the family to understand, so they kept it safely until my return. The other day I noticed the nice-looking heavy camera carrying case and on being told the story, opened it and tried to figure out how the contraption worked. The user's manual was a third-rate production that had crude sketches and diagrams which could not be located on the camera and there were mysterious gadgets on the camera which didn't find any mention in the manual! The camera was dead as the dodo, so I decided to carry out an autopsy, using only a screwdriver and hammer.

In the "morgue" lay the shattered bits and pieces of plastic, wires, toothed wheels, knobs, levers, switches, and other "hi-tech" stuff, but their total weight was only a few ounces, far less than what the manual specified. Yet the body felt heavy, so I pounded away with the heavy hammer to break it further to discover why it was so heavy. Lo and behold, inside each of the three "sinuses" of the camera, moulded and fitted skilfully, were chunks of solid pure lead (Pb). I intend melting them down into one chunk as a paper-weight.

It reminds me of a story I read when I was in school. A man bought a cat and instructed his servant to feed it one pound of meat daily. The servant complied faithfully but only for a week or so. One day the cat was heard meowing and meowing pitiably. The master ordered the servant to fetch a pair of scales.

"Did you feed the cat today?"
"Yes, Sir!"
"When and how much?"
"Ten minutes ago. One pound, Sir, just as you ordered."
"OK, the scale shows exactly one pound. That's the meat. Where's cat?"

The camera manual specifies its weight as 510 grams. The lead chunks alone weigh 510 grams. Where the devil's the camera?

Early Eid Mubarak, y'all!

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