In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.
Every time I read these lines, I cringe a little and to prevent any misreading of my cringieness, let me just say that it is not because I have issues with religion of any kind. I have no opinion on this matter because it is not in my jurisdiction. I deal with what people generally call ‘taste’ and that too, not ‘taste’ of the culturally amorphous kind, but ‘taste’ in the sense of stuff that reminds you of your mother’s cooking. That is it! The rest is all complications of the mind that I do not get to take part in. This cultural stuff is all in your mind, which tells you things that I rarely understand. Let me give you an example, when you eat caviar and think that you are sophisticated and feel superior about your palates when compared to, for example, people who eat cereal for dinner, my job is simply to report that you are eating salt-cured fish-eggs and not puffed wheat and milk.
However, let me return to my “original cringe”. I think that this way of rationalizing a metaphysics around creation of the world in and of itself has managed to, quite literally, fuck up our relationship as sense siblings. Vision has acted like a jackass for so long now that now we just do not care anymore about expressing ourselves, the way we could have, the way we should and sometimes even in the way we do when Vision leaves the building. To clarify this further, I am going to give you a thought experiment. Considering that human beings were made in the image of God and the first element of the most basic models of survival or rather subsistence is food, what should our metaphysics be ideally about?
Now, I will give you a biased answer (of course!); it should have been about creation of a meal. That is what God did! He prepared food and made his shitty clones realize that since everything in the world is ephemeral and in flux, food is the only thing that makes you realize your mortality in the most essentialist of ways. You see things, you hear them, you touch them, you smell them, (don’t even get me started on my sixth sibling, it talks in such a confusing way that I can’t even comprehend what it is saying half the time) and so these things, that you sense, are around you and continue to be so in a variety of ways. On the other hand, food has to be created, you consume it, it is consumed, and then, it has to be created again. It is the simplest cycle of reincarnations. Then, one day God forgot to prepare a meal and humans ate apples. That is when shit hit the fan. God felt that humans do not like his/her/its cooking anymore and so here we are! You can play the blame game all you like, but you have to eat to live. It is not anybody’s fault; it just happened. Now, whenever something that you eat reminds you of home or your mother, metaphysically, I make you feel God’s love. In a way, it is a return to innocence. This is my metaphysics and you have to keep this in mind as you continue reading this memoir.
Because there are such things like word limits and “capturing” the interest of you, my dear reader, I need to make this short and hence, I will tell you more about only two things that I have already setup. First, experience of this world is ephemeral. We all know this, I think. However, I am going to make a point that you might have trouble agreeing with. I think that that is quite all right. I am not the one to complain when I rarely get a chance to say what I want to say. So here it is.
No meal that you have ever eaten is the same as the food that you have had in the past or will have in the future. There are subtleties that are involved of which I am acutely aware of and I express, but the extent of retardation of the mind, if I may be allowed to say so, is such that you do not get to experience it. All my siblings will tell you the same thing at some level, but I feel it all the time and it frustrates me to no end.
I think my frustration would be better understood with an example. Let us say that I experienced what you call “butter chicken”; a famous Indian “curry” which you find literally everywhere you can locate a Punjabi restaurant in this world. Then, I expressed my experience in the level of detail that I do with every food. “It’s spicy, of course, but it’s spicy in its own unique way. It has a hint of cinnamon, cardamom, and fenugreek, a touch of cream, yoghurt, and milk, yes, I taste milk, and it is a little sweet because of it or maybe there is sugar in it. I taste the sourness of tomatoes and lemon accentuated by the flavor of onions. The chicken breasts are perfectly cooked; salty with a hint of chili infused into them. There is some garlic in the mix with traces of ginger and it all comes together with the taste of coriander leaves that were used in a sort of heavy-handed way.” The relay of information as it combined with all the other information that my siblings produced about this meal was processed by your mind, and all you got to experience was, “This is spicy Indian food with chicken in it.” I cannot help but wonder what just happened there. Is it just me or is it that the world of perception as my siblings and I experience is simply inaccessible to the mind?
Of course, some butter chicken does not have onions in it or any of the other flavors that I outlined for you here. Some of them have an overwhelming taste of food colors designed only to make Vision happy. Oh the irony! That jackass does not know shit about what I do. The crux of the matter is that one butter chicken is not same as another butter chicken, even if the same chef cooks it. I can tell you that, I can even help you experience it but more often than not; you do not get to listen to me. With this old fad of doing something while eating like, for example, for the current generation, staring at your phone or whatever other instrument to keep Vision happy, I feel as if I do not even get to tell you even the basics of what I experience. However, there is always a way of turning the tables around and this is where I will make my second point: Experience of the world is in flux.
Just the other day, I got high! A stranger sent freeze-dried berries in an envelope with a note that said, “Don’t eat the skin.” Of course, it did not matter that the source of the berries was unknown, it was consumed nevertheless, and for a change, I got so high that I tipped the heavily negotiated balance of information relay between us siblings in such a way that all that mind could do was to process my information. I had my moment of glory and fucked with mind as much as I could. I tasted things that were “spicy” as hell and relayed information that they were “sweet”. So imagine that you get a burn and warmth in your chest from something that tastes like honey. “Culturally accentuated palate”, my ass! I tell you what you “taste” and in my more sober self, I do the job consistently except in situations beyond my control when I leave the building. Things change, tastes change, and sometimes you start liking something because somebody that you are very close to and connected with, likes it. I learn from other tasters out there in the world; I make the mind appreciate certain meals more because you are happy when you taste them or you feel safe when you taste them.
To end this, I must say that my frustration and my reactions have nothing do to with what you call “ego”. I do not think I have one. Sorry, Freud! Of course, this note might look like a rant. I know you are probably reading the memoir as a younger sibling frustrated at the illustriousness of its elder sibling. Let me just say that for starters that there is no younger or elder between us sense siblings. We are hexaplets! We all came together in the developments of humans. Secondly, my frustration is about you and your perception of the world, not my role in it. There is a difference, which you must recognize. I do my job well. I know it. I am just sad that I do not completely get to share my perception with you. You always get a part of the puzzle and your mind fills up the rest with your past experiences and your anticipation for the future. Mind is brilliant at this job and that is why, you never get to experience what it really means to say that the world is ephemeral and constantly in flux. You hold on to things, believe in memories, you are never present, caught up in your past, reaching for the future. You know about my metaphysics, maybe you even believe in it, but you have not experienced it. Maybe you cannot. I do not know.
However, I can tell you one thing about that experience, when you eat something and it takes you back down the rabbit hole of memories, when things were simpler, food was always good, and everything made sense. That rabbit hole is your shortcut to experiencing God. God is the anomaly in my metaphysics. He/She/It does not have a place in it, but at the same time, he/she/it is there! Therefore, my job, and I try my best to accomplish it, is to take you down that rabbit hole. Hoping that someday you will reach the wonderland that is the Garden of Eden.
[Contribution for Everyday Memoirs]