In these days of LPG and other gadgets easily available and affordable, I am amused when a stay at home homemaker complains of being overburdened with daily household chores.I am reminded of my own growing years as a child when the day would start early in the morning with preparing Angeethi for cooking and water heating purposes. The Angeethi was a device made of a tin canister or an old metal bucket, which was got fixed with a spiked net placed inside at middle height to hold fuelwood and burnt coal. The bucket already had a handle while the canister had a bent metal seekh with the ends fixed on two opposite sides.A rectangular opening was kept at the lower half to insert wastepaper for burning and also to take out ash. The upper half was had a thick layer of clay with three or four lumps made on top to hold cookware and utensils.
After the day was done. the Angeethi was emptied of burnt coal and ash was kept ready to be lighted the next morning. Some finely cut fuelwood was put inside from top and some soft coal was put above. Some wastepaper was inserted at the bottom which was burnt first if all for the fuel wood to catch fire.
The angithee had to be periodically filled with fresh coal to keep it going. Every morning, passing through any residential area, one could see smoke rising out of the angeethis left in the open for burning.
Surprisingly, air pollution was not much of an issue then, maybe due to sparse population and absence of an alternative as Angeethi served both the purposes of cooking as well as keeping warm in chilling snowy winters.
Sitting around the well lighted angithee was a favourite pastime in winters, also sometimes taking parched moongphali..