Transformer oil

Yesterday was a miserable day; I have developed a sore throat, sat through a boring finish to the India-Windies test and later on watched an even more boring football match Swiss vs Ukraine.

But I remembered this very interesting story that my friend Ganesan had narrated.

It was during his Guindy engineering college days (early 80’s), one day the professor stated that he would be away that morning to attend an electricity board auction for used transformer oil. The Prof wanted some for dielectric tests etc in the lab. The result of his trip proved to be very interesting, he was thoroughly wonderstruck when he found a large gathering getting ready to bid for ‘waste transformer oil’. As a man of science, he found some of the specimens out there very unworthy buyers of a mineral oil that can at best be used in diverse industry for lubrication & preservative coatings…

He could not but resist asking the chap sitting next to him what he wanted this oil for and why there was such a mad rush of bidders. Our man answers ‘ Sir, this is very popular with hoteliers, Vada pannarthukku nalla irukkum’… i.e. it is good for frying vadas (a fried rice and lentil doughnut popular in South India)

The professor had little to say that afternoon…

Joke or not this anecdote still stirs up the audience…

There was indeed a time when adulteration of food was rife …a time when Potassium chlorate was purportedly added to colour chilli powder…That was decidedly dangerous, I don’t think mineral oils kill, but well, we are a nation of recyclers…what a route for a mineral to get back to where it came from…


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