A tradition of saving crockery

The privileged ones like you and me—if you aren’t privileged, then the right question for you would be: by what degree?—have metamorphosed nicely into the ongoing pandemic. The way we address our wants (and needs) with the changing time is a work of art in itself. After all, for us, it has always been about convenience. We do care about the world but not at the cost of our luxury. We don’t have our skin in the game of saving the world. Nope. We get our wherewithal sorted quite easily as the world in the background goes through an unprecedented chaos. A lot of people, in little over a year, have basically experienced earthquakes without the land beneath their toes moving an inch. Yet, here we are netflixing and chilling and working from home and complaining about wifi and lack of parties and ordering in stuff online and spending more time than ever before catching up on phone and zoom calls and whatnot. Poor us.


Since I mentioned the 21st century phenomenon of catching fancy on our phone screens and making it arrive at your doorsteps within a week, let me share a peculiar behaviour displayed by our ageing dog. Whenever the delivery person shows up at our door, Ranga walks up to him so as to greet without a bark and throws his head back to sniff what he is holding in his hands. He closely monitors the transfer of the order to my care and then promptly walks away. As if he was expecting something else. As if to suggest to me, “Oh, that’s not my order. I will wait some more.” 


I usually let things go but this one needs to be said out loud. I lost my first ever mobile phone thanks to Roger Federer. During the second year of engineering, my dad got me this cheapass Nokia phone; it was my first so I used it enthusiastically like a bigshot. Anyway, going back to the main story, Federer and Roddick were set up for the US Open final that night. And I stayed up late to watch the match. Was obviously happy with the result and then slept for a bit only to wake up and rush to college. On my way, I got a seat on the bus (fortunately) and immediately dozed off (unfortunately) and when I got down at my stop, I realized that my dear little phone was missing. It must have either slipped from my hand or pocket while I was busy asleep. Long story short, technically speaking, Roger Federer owes me 999 rupees. 


While growing up poor and wise, I often wondered why those good-looking crockery were never taken out for the family members. They were always reserved for the guests. Even on special days, like Diwali, the porcelain stuff remained segregated from less mortals who lived in the same house. There were several such practices that carried on back then which required thorough questioning. Anyway, I remember asking amma once what was the point of keeping them for others and not enjoying them ourselves. Her response was crisp and memorable: “We save them for others, just like others save theirs for us when we visit them.” 


If you’ve got a job, be thankful. As of now, the unemployment rate in India is dangerously close to 8%. That said, the ideal way to deal with a job is to treat it respectfully. Taking it for granted won’t serve you well nor the work you’ve undertaken. Give it your 100%; take responsibility for your position, show zeal and keep learning new stuff. Most of us know how to work but very few of us figure out what works for us. An occupation is an excuse to know ourselves better and yet, we often end up feeling lost in our so-called career. Think about it. You’ve got 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Even if you sleep 8 hours a day, you are bound to dedicate more than half of your waking hours to your work. That’s a lot of time singularly dedicated to one goal. On top of it, if you’re feeling your work isn’t fulfilling you, then you are in for a harsh surprise: your job doesn’t deserve you and vice versa. It’s far better to focus on being in love with somebody/something than being in hate with your job/task. 


What you are going to read now is both factual as well as one of the finest jokes you’d ever experienced. You are welcome. So, did you know that plants have feelings? I remember reading about it in an English chapter from fifth standard; Dr. JC Bose apparently was one of the first to prove scientifically that plants do feel the way mammals do. Just that they don’t make a squeak. To prove it to you, I’ll have two plants and I’ll water one of them regularly while ignoring the other one completely. As the days pass by, the unloved plant would start feeling bad and envious and would eventually wither away while the watered plant would continue to thrive. Doesn’t this prove that plants have feelings and you’ve got a great sense of humour? 


Last night, I had a peculiar dream. In it, I was walking in the drawing hall of our apartment and went to the kitchen to get some water. I peeped out of the kitchen window and noted that it was raining heavily with thundering jazz. After having my sip, I went to my study for no reason and saw that the fan was on. Which made me wonder why was it on (the weather is so chill, even the floor feels cold) and how come I forgot to turn it off (I very seldom leave the buttons on). As the unanswered questionnaire kept piling on, I woke up. Looked at the time and went straight to the study. Guess what? The fan was indeed on. I’d forgotten to turn it off before going to sleep. And what else do I witness? The thundering rain in the middle of the Mangalorean night. 


If she is crying, try to make her smile. And if she is smiling, try to make her laugh. And if she is laughing, try to make her laugh hard. And if she is laughing hard, hold her. And if you are holding her, try to kiss her gently. And if she is kissing you back, try to make it last long enough for a memory. Now that memories are under production, heartbeats will sync too. And once that music plays on, a cosmic dance shall follow. And if that is possible, there is no stopping you two. You will keep going until you are both naked and breathless in each other’s necks. Congratulations. 


Once upon a time, I used to watch a lot of movies and I used to recommend the really better ones on Twitter. Somehow I kept growing distant from cinema and started reading more and watching less but first love is first love, no? Even today, when I am watching a film, I am watching everything. Nothing escapes me. I end a movie with red eyes, not because I weep every time but because I don’t blink much. It’s a curse (read: FOMO) as well as a gift (read: curse). Last week, I was watching Minari (2020) and noticed several elements that gave us, the hapless audience, a peek into the making of the fabled American Dream. The family featured is Korean—it could have been any other geography or culture—and the couple is drifting apart from the very first scene. Their marriage is doomed but the soil under their feet is owned by them even though water isn’t available to irrigate their future. There is a lot of sky and space for the kids to play. Only fire is missing. So, interestingly, even the god can’t help but throw in some fire to ember their silent suffering. 


Some years ago, this blog pointed out how Japan might be an exemplary nation but remains categorically xenophobic. So much so it refused to accept Syrian refugees—instead preferring to provide them financial support from the sidelines—and managed to let in less than 100 refugees. In contrast, Germany absorbed half a million refugees from the war-torn nation. These cultural contradictions are quite striking. What’s also striking is the rise of mixed race sports personalities in Japan over the last couple of years. Something that has never happened before. From NBA star Rui Hachimura (also the Olympics flag-bearer) to Olympics hopefuls like Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Bruno Dede to tennis sweetheart Naomi Osaka to baseball star Yu Darvish—and the list spills onto other sports—Japanese people are loudly cheering for those who were basically a taboo for the previous generations. Perhaps change is slow but sweet.