I have an obsession with Pak Fans. Don’t think me strange, but I do. Let me clarify. I call all pedestal fans, Pak fans. The reason being that the ones I had in my childhood were of a brand called ‘Pak fan.’ Now its synonymous will all fans of that shape/type. Something about the sounds, the gentle breeze, the calming gusts of wind make me feel at peace, as if I am transported back to a time when things were simple and uncomplicated.
I have thought long and hard as to where my obsession stems from. And I think I have finally come to a conclusion. I think the whole effect of the fan transports me back to to my great-grandmother, or Ama-ji’s house. It reminds me of the evenings spent sprawled on ‘charpai’s’ having chai and giggling. It would be mostly Ama-ji, my Nano, her siblings, my mother and us siblings and cousins. We would have a new topic of discussion each night, interspersed sometimes with silence as we enjoyed my uncle’s birds’ chirping, neighbors having some tiff, and the gentle breeze. But the sound I remember best is of Pak fan, twirling away, gathering our memories and our laughter and dispersing it into the wind.
It was a pleasant time. That house, my Ama-ji, my family, the delicious food and the quiet yet memorable moments. Sometimes Pak fan would follow us indoors and cool down those humid summer afternoons, with us lazing in various rooms, gossiping in hushed voices as the adults napped. The fan’s sounds would mute our conversations, providing us with a mask of secrecy as we shared little tidbits of useless information. The fan would provide us with cool gusts that sometimes required us to hide underneath earthy colored blankets, which smelled of a musky scent that was unique to that time and to that place.
I recently, after years of yearning for one, bought myself a fan in Dubai. It serves no purpose due to our central air-conditioning and generally chilly indoors. But I love it.The feeling of going home, making a cup of chai and sitting in its breeze is unmatchable. I sometimes question myself and try to dig out the memories in their truest form. But then I stop myself. Does it matter? At the end of the day, what matters is how we remember them, and as my Pak fan will confirm, I remember them as a sweet smelling, softly blowing breeze.