VERY lately at around eleven in the morning, which is an hour or more after breakfast, and two hours before lunch, I’ve been having a small bottle of coconut water. This was once the time when I had my second cup of tea, but I stopped that, then started having a Coke, which my children spoke against, and finally settled for this tiny white bottle, with sweet water from the coconuts.
I’ve been a great one for coconuts and have often stopped my car near one of these coconut sellers and watched as they hitched up their dhoti, so that their deft arm would be unhindered in its aim, then deftly sliced out the top of a coconut and offered the luscious opened fruit to me. But there was a moment as I held the coconut in my palm when I wondered how it would taste; would it be sweet? Insipid? Or just mediocre? And then as I pulled on the straw would find the answer in the first sip.
But with the bottle of water, the taste is standardized! Which means that something has been introduced to make all the bottled stuff taste the same. I wondered what it would be like if we people were also likewise. I remember reading about dog breeds and finding out that each breed like a German-Shepherd or a hound or a poodle, had characteristics which were similar, but that is certainly not so in we humans.
We are not bottled coconut water! We are fruits with each of us having our own identity. But very often, we tend to want to become like bottled water. I find this in many fields, like wanting to dress alike, by not wanting to look different, because we don’t want to stand out in a crowd. I see this in people, even I, who don’t want to experiment with different foods in a hotel, because we don’t want to wander from the safety of the familiar.
All we like bottled water! Today in our country, I find this in mass voting for political parties, without even thinking deeply if that particular leader or those leaders are doing any good for the country. But he is from our religion, we say, and we jump into the bottle and lose our identity!
Maybe it’s time we realize we are individuals, that we should not lose our flavour as individuals, and that flavour comes out of our individual capacity to think. It’s time we became persons and not a crowd of people, casting away our identity and jumping into bottles, to give one flavour of our country to the world, rather than showing the world that we are a nation who are made up of people from different cultures, dissimilar tastes, and diverse religions! Not bottled coconut water, like some of our leaders want us to become..!
—Email: [email protected]