Nandini Vaidyanathan contemplates on the concept of life coming full circle
I just celebrated my birthday last week. When you are in your sixties, I guess you tend to ruminate about LIFE. I have no such indulgences but I did ruminate about the phenomenon of loop or full circle in the universe. Let me take some random examples from different domains to illustrate what I mean.
In 1986, we were celebrating my daughter’s first birthday in Chennai. Suddenly at 10 am, all the havan and pooja rituals were called to a halt and the pandits and the guests herded themselves in front of a dilapidated Solidaire TV. It was Mahabharat time on DD and what amused me and appalled me was the collective behaviour of the people present, without as much as ‘by your leave’! When I complained to my mother-in-law in whose house it was, she simply shrugged and said, the birthday celebrations can continue after Mahabharat, but this episode of Mahabharat won’t come back.
Cut to the year 2016 perhaps. I was watching this show on Netflix called 13 reasons why and I was shocked and delighted that I could binge-watch (note, new phrase added to the thesaurus) a whole season without having to wait for next week. I had goosebumps just at the possibility!
Cut to 2022. I started to watch a show called Adhura Sach on Disney+Hotstar. I had settled down to binge watching. Imagine my surprise when after the first episode which was gripping all my senses, I learn I have to wait till next Friday for the next episode. That is the loop I am talking about.
Episodic (delayed gratification) – binge (instant gratification) – episodic (tenterhooks)!!!
Fashion is another obvious culprit. Bell bottoms were in (so comfortable), bell bottoms were out (so uncomfortable), and bell bottoms are in again (with a new name, flared pants). Fringe was in (and how), fringe was passé (very proletarian) and fringe is back (uber cool). Sarees were in (only choice for many women), sarees were out (only ‘auntyjis’ wear sarees), sarees are in (chic wear, wear them with blouse, without, as a dress, stitch-them-and-slip-into them, wear as anything else you want). The list is endless.
My generation used floppy, pen drive, hard disk, and cloud for storage. I remember when a laptop I bought did not have provision for the floppy disk and the salesman said it was optional. I remember yelling at him that it is like buying a car with the option of a fuel tank! The day is not far off when Apple will say; cloud is too unsafe, so go back to some form of hard disk!
Dalia for breakfast was in (easy to make), dalia was out (very lower middle class), dalia is in again (very vegan you know). Ragi was in (farmers’ staple), ragi was out (ugh!), ragi is in again (it reverses ageing!) Ghee was in (signature of upper classes), ghee was out (OMG it is so fattening) and ghee is in again (a superfood that is bovine’s gift to mankind).
Long hair was in (mark of beauty for a girl), long hair was out (short is low maintenance) and long hair in so much in today, not just women but even guys have long hair!
Outdoor was in (a fistful of sky), outdoor was out (eeks, all the insects and the sweating) and outdoor is in again (far from the madding crowd).
Stepmoms were not in (Kaikeyi), then stepmoms became cool (yours, mine and ours) and stepmoms are back to being the male dog again (Cate Blanchett in Cinderella).
Duffels were in (made of used cloth, they were the only travel accessory), duffels were out (polymer suitcases on wheels) and duffels are in again (yaks can’t carry polymer on wheels please).
You get the drift of what I am saying? Everything in life seems to operate on a loop. We have a proverb in Kannada that translates loosely as ‘flipping the dosa’. It is as simple as that. If you look at the genre of fantasy/sci-fi films in English in the last decade, the way they have embraced witchery, magic, cult science and time travel is so reminiscent of all the things we read with awe and amazement as children in our literature.
So my post birthday epiphany is summarised beautifully by Justin Timberlake: what goes around comes around.
The columnist is co-founder of bakery and restaurant business (www.concoctions.fr) with her French Michelin-star chef life partner. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org