I do not know how to cook. When I say this, I exclude my little survival instinct. I know how to cook a simple meal consisting of bread rice dal vegetables. I do not correct the aunt when she chides lovingly perhaps that I should learn cooking.
When I teach the kids about reusable wastes, I halt for a while at the icon with a drawing of broken glass and I ask myself, should we, can we, reuse broken glass. A few days back, when I was watching a web series, the actor in there used to join the broken pieces of glass with golden glitter making the cracks beautiful, but I also found him breaking the vase himself to join it later and thus beautifying or aestheticizing the ruptures, flaws or edges.
Chemical hearts 80%, Stuck in love 20%
Both had vulnerable female characters.
This art of joining the broken glass or vase with glitter glue and beautifying the broken is a Japanese art called – kintsugi and I got to know that we should not use broken glass, and when disposing of it, should be wrapped up well in a cloth, broken to fine shreds and then to be disposed of.
While I have reused laundry clothes in various ways, cutting them into flats, sheets, kerchiefs, to keep feet at the cold earth somewhat taking in but also creating a hindrance for the chill to get me, if thin enough to tie the soaked grams in to get sprouts the next day, or to dust off the laptop screen, or as a hand towel for regular use to dry off the wet hands.
My mother knows stitching and knitting. She used to have a visual memory, one design she sees once, she can replicate the same in moments. She stitches her blouses and petticoats on her own. We were always dressed neat and tidy. While away from the home and a grown up, Ma consciously puts a stitching kit in my backpack, a translucent rectangular or cylindrical box with 3-4 needles and thread bobbins of different colors, white and black is a constant.
The story, ‘The Happy Prince’ probably has a seamstress character in the plot. I was mending my cotton blend shorts and I grew unusually silent and consumed by the act. I recall that now my mother tends to forget if she had put salt already in the vegetables or dal. She comes hurriedly into the room and she stands there puzzled for a while because it slipped her mind what she came for. I do not know if it is normal with the age or a warning to hold on to tightly to whatever/ whoever we value.
The stitches in shorts are made from inside, The glitter glue on broken vases is visible from the outside. Remembering the days when I had cooked rice in a water kettle to be eaten with salad, curd, pickle, I can claim I can cook. But I do not settle it. I kept mending the tears. I let mother forget about salt and the thing she could not recall but had come to find the thing forgotten. What to reuse. How to dispose of. The life and heart, it cannot be beautified with golden glitter glue, should be kept close with the deliberate stitches, mended.
Neha Kumari, currently a PhD scholar in Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of NIT Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, India, is pursuing her research in English Literature. She holds her Bachelor and Master degree in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. An avid reader, poetry enthusiast writing in Hindi and English with a crisp style, she has the equal reverence for theatre and music. Her field of interests are contemporary British Fiction, Indian English literature, American Fiction, Migration and Memory studies, Spatial literature, City Fiction.