Follow the sequence

January 15, 2019 at 11:49 pm 8 comments


After a hectic week of work overload, my wife was lazing last Sunday without attending to her routine morning chores, meaning, disinterested to prepare her usual mesmerizing breakfast for the three of us.  A considerate husband that I am, I offered my services to fix a quick meal and suggested to dish out “Upma”, a semi-solid savory, which when properly prepared is at once tasty and wholesome.  My wife quickly accepted the gesture, not because she had any great faith in my culinary skills but honestly believed that the recipe would keep the pangs of hunger at bay till lunch time, a reasonable enough duration for her to shake off the fatigue and drape the apron again.

I, at once, set out to the task of churning out the Upma….cut the vegetables, smashed the coriander and other spicy essentials and placed the pan on fire, half filled with water. Stirring steadily the boiling water with all the ingredients in it, I poured down the Semolina (Sooji), the base material, leaving the salt to be added at the end of the process.  As the mixture bubbled up and transformed into a more solid state, a lavish dose of ghee was splashed over the hot concoction, the aroma emanating from which, drew my wife to the kitchen. When I reached out to the salt bottle, my wife opened her mouth aghast. She at once was furious that I have not sprinkled the sodium when the water was still boiling.  I tried to reason with her that it can always be added to taste at the end and that the sequence doesn’t really matter.  And I was terribly wrong!  How much ever I tried to mix the cooked stuff with salt, it refused to spread evenly, leaving a small portion heavily salted and the larger one, bland and tasteless. On the whole, my tryst with cookery that day ended in unbridled disaster with even my pet doggie, who otherwise instinctively obeys all my instructions, just refusing to even sniff the stuff, served to him warm and with much generosity.

It is only then that the importance of the correct sequence dawned on me with much force and it is just not confined to order of a recipe preparation. In the usage of the language, a jumbled up sequence of letters could make the “sacred words on the shore” a “scared sword on the horse” and a “tender heart” could become a “rented hater”. And if you mix up the order of your dressing, it could spell more catastrophic than the wardrobe malfunction…the shirt would precede the vest and you may well end up wearing the underwear over the pants, a ‘la Spiderman!!!  Correct sequencing, both in matters of words uttered and attire worn are of paramount importance, to sound sensible and to look human.

And while dealing with the machines, sequence would well mean a choice between task well accomplished or a disaster invited.  I cannot, while driving, change the gear before pressing the clutch nor can stamp the accelerator without releasing the break. And to follow a set of instructions in a preset order, a Standard Operating Procedure is critical and non-negotiable in almost all arenas of human enterprise- be it in aviation, in medical care or in developing software.

The nature too adheres to a well set order and it is repeated with clock like precision. The chirping of the birds precede the sunrise, thunder follows lightning and the trees shedding their leaves proclaim the advent of winter.  Flowers blossom when the bees hum, fishes multiply just after the rains and frogs croak in anticipation of the monsoon. There is enchanting beauty in this well orchestrated symphony, a flawless rhythm of sequence and a profound melody of orderliness.

Just as in nature, human societies too are preserved and nurtured by a strict compliance to order and our well-being and progress is guaranteed only when sequence become sacrosanct. Early years are dedicated to education while the middle life is spent in acquiring wealth and in supporting the family. The years for reflection and counsel are reserved for the later part of the life when one is looked upon for guidance and support by the younger generations. Childhood and adolescence are followed by formal wedding and marriage precedes companionship and family life.  This sequence in human life has ensured order and continuity in society, ensuring stability with security, and endow purpose and meaning to our existence.

But sadly today, we find an onslaught on this time tested pattern of our earthy sojourn as orders are recklessly scrambled and social fabric fatally destroyed. “Live-in” is one such fad wherein youngsters live as wedded couples without entering into the vows and commitments of a formal marriage. They seek to enjoy companionship without responsibility and decide on mutual congruity only after a long spell of living together. Paranoid to face life as it comes, they prey for instant gratification rather than for life-long commitment that is based on true love and understanding. Putting the coach before the engine, this behavior destroys the lives of the people involved and eats on the vitals of the society and the social order. A great scourge and a threat to civilization, it is absolutely essential that this tendency is purged to its roots and normal human behavior is strengthened so that generations to come would have a family to fall back to and a culture to be proud of.

Human life is designed to achieve a higher purpose and should not be reduced to a blind game of cards, shuffled at whim. Otherwise, life would be a tasteless waste, much like my botched up Upma!

Yours

Narayanan

Entry filed under: To reflect. Tags: .

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