Every morning I churn milk in an old-fashioned way in an earthen pot (called a chatti, in chaste Punjabi) and get the now famous buttermilk. Buttermilk or lassi is synonymous with being a Punjabi and goes with the staple saag, makki di roti and parantha. However, the buttermilk has a modern new lease, avatar and is sold over the world as the next best elixir for a healthier lifestyle. So, one early morning at an ungodly time when even the rooster doesn’t crow I heard this sound of pitter-patter and I turned out to see it was the leaky cauldron where the lassi was pooling to the floor. I didn’t know what to do as it had sprung a leak so I put another utensil to collect the milk. That chapter got resolved for the meantime but when it was morning; I asked the general handyman that works on the farm to put some Mr Fix-it and to well make the pot new.
He laughed and said this is the best jugaad to do. He said we use it for everything, for fixing leaks, walls, plumbing problems and so forth. And, it worked.
My earthen pot survives till today, but it’s the same attitude we all are plagued with. It’s a malaise we have for everything, the stopgap attitude to fix the problems that we face for now, and to let whatever happens afterwards as not being one’s problem. I think from politics to the weather to corruption, to the falling rupee, rising prices, me too, rapes, assault, rising depression, increasing insensitivity towards each other, and xenophobia, we all brush everything under the carpet.
Something somewhere is done to fix the problem for ten per cent, in fact, the next-door neighbour infamously was called Mr. 10%, for taking a cut to fix any deal. The kickbacks are what we all are starting to suffer, increasing temperatures and a shrinking agricultural base and rising, spiralling prices. Do we ever think that these might affect us? No, because we only keep our own houses clean, only keep our affairs in order as all that is happening isn’t our problem. Whatever problem we face, or any obstacle that comes our way, we fix temporarily. It a never-ending vicious circle and we say chalta hai. Dreams and aspirations have all been forgotten, buried and only the bright pixels of the virtual world that have become an extension of us is blinding us. We all live oblivious of what is happening around us and have become shrouded to a single fixated gaze on our screens. Empathy, compassion, morals all compromised to be a thing of the past. This attitude has become second nature and we live every day focusing on only that particular day, trying to get by. When I asked the ladies of the village why were they not giving meals to the school going children, they said its cheaper to give them Rs 5 for kurkure , rather than cook a meal or make vegetables. This change, jugaad is everywhere, the consequences be damned because there is something else to fix it just like they made the Raavan this year by just using giant staples! Why go into a headache to bind them with cord, I just know these festivals will be extinct soon, they would just have laser depictions and smoke-free!
Someday, we will all have our lives just like the virtual reality glasses played in front of us, pre-fed, stored by a mainframe computer in the vaults in a foreign land and I would be serving a capsule of buttermilk mixed with a capsule of water bubble and not be worried about leaky cauldrons.
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