…That’s how I am humbly introduced today, in the bamboo factory, to what more liberal folk call a bar stool. I say liberal not meaning urban or “developed” but people who are less euphemistic in their approach. After a creative yet monotonous day of weaving mats, I make my way home, meandering through potholed roads abundant with evidence of the morning’s downpour, struggling to not come in the way of the ominous trucks and buses rolling down the road inches away from my pink raincoat, splashing muddy water coloured red from the runoff of the brick kiln uphill. I cannot help but wince at the patchy houses strewn with moss laden roofs and walls but snobbishly envy it’s old world charm. I see a lone woman sitting in the verandah of her presumably empty house beside a board inviting guests (re:tourists, bachelors and students) to her “mess” where she serves good food for cheap bucks albeit with an incessant commentary on the entire village.
As I trudge along, I see many more such places offering similar services (hopefully with a lot less banter!) for people passing through the village, on their way to more important places in cities, when I remember I have to attend to some mundane household chores now that my clothes don’t magically get washed, ironed and stacked in my wardrobe. In the store, the steely counter divides the dark and bony figures from piles of goods in shiny packages ranging from daily consumables to one-time consumables, ahem!
As the day draws to an end, explicitly showing signs of the impending unceasing monsoon, rendering all things perennially cold and wet, my mind wanders back to the day’s proceedings. I think about the menial jobs the workers have to subject themselves to, which they do ever so pleasantly, with enough courtesy to oblige my presence with a radiant smile as I inquire about the nature of their work, when my thoughts wander to the luggage stool. I wonder why such an innocuous reference to the bar stool has left such an indelible mark on my mind making me uncomfortable as I sit in the balcony of my well furnished apartment painted yellow and white.
Is it the fact that none question the logic behind this euphemised nomenclature and are satisfied believing that the sole purpose of this ergonomically discomforting piece of architecture can be the fulfillment of such a trivial task and if so, if it’s worth the effort, or is it it’s reference to the blasphemous human fallacy of self indulgence? Is it the seemingly conscious ignorance to look at the facts straight in the eye which is a sign of weakness to face the truth or is it an effort to look beyond the glaringly obvious vulgar reality in an attempt towards actualization?
I ruminate on my observations of the day and try to reach a consensus after deliberating on my thoughts, for what seem like centuries of rational thought passing me by, but to no avail. After all, who am I, I conveniently conclude, to judge other’s disposition in this ubiquitous, incomprehensible, perplexing milieu of human rationality, universal truths and personal beliefs?