Succour Wasteland

By: Pragith Saravanan

Ravuthar Recipes – With a Pinch of Love.

The moment I noticed the hefty cookbook perched on a rather immodest tabletop in the Nilgiri’s Store on Poonamallee High Road, I knew I had to have it. The cover featured something that resembled an unusually ripe nutmeg and the blurb on the back had me hooked. As I greedily eyed the book wrapped neatly in plastic film, it hit me.

I do not know the first thing about cooking.

I eat food; I am a self-proclaimed Anton Ego when it comes to eating, and I pride myself on having tastebuds that pick up on the nuances of food. A glutton, if you feel so inclined to call me one. However, I cannot cook.

This unsavoury revelation brought about an avalanche of questions. How long have I been spending money on things I do not even remotely need? What do I want and what do I need? Why is my diet so extravagant when I could subsist on a much smaller roster of foods? Why am I so unusually desirous of something that would sit at one corner of my bookshelf gathering dust?

I had an epiphany that was as far reaching as present day rabbit holes and as disastrous as Dolores Abernathy merging with Wyatt, that day.

Staying true to the Gen-Z tradition of attributing flashes and vacant recesses of the mind to big words, I began referring to the revelation as a reaction to the current state of romantic consumerism.

Romantic consumerism sounds… romantic. And the true connotations of the phrase do not stray far away from the Titanic pose you have instantly conjured up in your head.

My take on romantic consumerism is one that does not invalidate the apparent benefits or pitfalls of the same; I am a proponent of this culture. I contribute to the culture in numerous ways and I do not think I will stop. I am a mere cog in the machine; every single one of you reading this contributes heartily to this culture.

Poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge used Romantic poetry to launch their salvo against the Industrial Revolution that promised convenient lives, but only delivered impoverished and oppressed lives. They stressed the importance of the individual, imagination, and the emotional aspects of a human being.

It is intriguing to note, however, that their lurid stress on being content in one’s own mind is ironically just as materialistic as their industrial counterpart. Drawing parallels, their argument is akin to me creating recipes on the fly while the rest follow a cookbook. The result is an amalgam of spices, cereals, and meats that we know to be food.

Shedding the dour tone, I am going to approach this culture in a laid-back manner. Though I thoroughly enjoy the fruit that I gain from my materialistic pursuit, there is an illusory aspect to it. At the pit of this incredibly comfortable hot-tub of pleasures, a megalodon lies scheming.

As evocative as the soprano on Carolyn’s Fingers, the surges of well-being we derive from our surroundings is a gift like none other. To bask in hedonism that our simian brains have come to crave, is a privilege. Imagine being deprived of kudal kulambu or Netflix. Appalling.

The feedback loop attached to this contract is fashioned from the collective likes of the Serpent and God. The promise of pleasure is a warrant for an equal measure of frustration.

A pound of flesh.

Sans blood.

Best believe your pound of flesh is going to be well-laden with blood. Rest assured however, that the opioids in your blood will maintain the fever-smile long enough.

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