A sparking stainless steel tea kettle now stands on my gas top. I find myself aimlessly walking into the kitchen numerous times during the day, just to take a peek at it. Kitchen was never the favourite part of the house for me. But seems like that’s going to change...as long as the kettle looks shiny and new. It’s the highlight of the last weekend shopping, when I bought loads of feel-good stuff ranging from incense sticks to tea lights. The kettle, however, is not just a feel-good item. It’s a saviour for me, really. No more making a mess when I pour tea into cups from a saucepan. Tea in a saucepan!! I hear you exclaim. Yes, I had an electric kettle that boiled water for practically all my kitchen needs ...from instant noodles to tea-bag tea. But occasionally, on Saturday evenings, when there was no plans to step out of the house, I’d make that much-loved masala-malai tea... and the two of us would huddle under a blanket, lie together on a sofa and watch a movie. That’s when I used a saucepan to simmer my tea leaves and let the milk boil and froth for ages, to create that thick malai layer on top. And that’s when I poured the tea all over the bench top and spent hours cleaning it afterwards.
But the kettle is going to change all that. I can now have a taste of India, without all the mess of an Indian kitchen. And it whistles too, when the water reaches boil! What more can I want? OK, I do understand I am over-doing the excitement...but that’s because I did feel a child-like excitement at a new toy.
I dragged A from the study to show him how cutely it whistled...a low, meek, whistle that seemed to say “yes-the-water-is-boiling-but-there-is-nothing-to-panic”. He looked at it for a second and with the nonchalant face of a sleepy sea-lion, he said “Don’t tell me you have never used a whistling kettle before? My mother probably got one as her wedding gift and has been using it ever since.”
Now, I am not the kind of person who turns into a live wire at the slightest comparison with the mother-in-law. I get along pretty well with her, touchwood. But his statement made me wonder...
My mum never had a whistling kettle in her kitchen, so I hadn’t grown up seeing one. True, it was not the first time I had seen one...but it was the first time I owned one. And hence all the excitement. For A, it was like looking at a telephone. Something we had all seen, used, over-used... and taken for granted. As life goes on, we will grow older...acquire more things, see new places, be able to afford much more than what our parents could back in their times (partly because they were in India and partly because technology hadn’t advanced that much anyway). Does that mean we will forget what it is to be excited? The real, pure, innocent, unadulterated, child-like excitement! The kind of excitement that needs an exclamation mark at the end of it, just for emphasis!
Will our children ever say “Wow, I love my new pencil box!” Or will they just say “thank you” and head back to their rooms nonchalantly with their booty? Will they ever spend sleepless nights, waiting anxiously to go to school the next day to show off their new pencil box? Will they ever nag us to let them sleep in the garage on their shiny new bicycles? Or keep the new CD player beside their pillows? Or wipe their new school boots with the edge of their school uniforms on the way to school?
Is excitement a fast-fading, soon-to-become-extinct emotion? Is “taking-for-granted” the new epidemic that will change “living” as we knew it? Are we “blessed” to have everything we ever want? Or “deprived” because we can’t feel the purest of feelings anymore?