Monday, August 19, 2013

Quit the gum

A long time ago, when I was little, life was all about enjoying sweet drinkables. One day, my mother decided to surprise me by feeding me something quite different from what I had ever allowed within the moist confines of my mouth. I can't really remember my words because it has been long but I am sure I mumbled WTF or something. 

I looked at her questioningly, demanding an immediate explanation to the inconceivably horrible act she had committed. To my surprise, she simply smiled and squeezed my mouth shut, leading me to crush this thing with my newly acquired front teeth and reduce it to pulp. (I later learned that you called this thing a banana; a difficult name, I would say, because as a kid one always forgot when to stop nanaing). This was a moment of discovery for me like most human beings of my age; I had no clue that one could move their jaws synchronously, in opposite directions, to turn a non-drinkable item of food into a mashed up, semi solid mass of swallowable stuff. The initial feeling of disgust gave way to absolute wowness which came with a realization that there was so much more in the world to extract gustatory delight from. 

I spent the rest of my crawling years biting, nibbling, and chewing everything I could dig my teeth into. That I could use my little teeth to crush (or at least scrape) everything from wood to wafers, gave me an unprecedented sense of power and a happy realization that I was born on the top of the food chain. I had defined for myself, a 5 step formula to a happy and contented life- bite, chew, pulpify, swallow and, finally, burp. Life would've continued to be one happy song if I had never tried out that fiendish little piece of pink confectionary called Chewing Gum.

Chewing Gums try really hard to look inviting- they come in attractive colours of blues, pinks, yellows, and greens and are usually wrapped in a gift. This poses quite a challenge for a young kid who might be trying to hold himself back from gobbling something that looked suspiciously attractive. Besides, I was told that it was sweet and you could blow bubbles through it while you chewed it. That sounded like a lot of fun so I tossed one into my mouth, chewed on the momentary sweet delight, blew a few bubbles, and then waited for it to change into the squishy-squashy pulp I turned every edible thing into. But it never happened. I moved it from one corner of my mouth to another in panic, tried grounding it with my proud molars, but the damn thing never turned into anything beyond what it already was. At that precise moment, I felt like superman with plutonium in his mouth as my innocent, young world came crashing down. The realization that there might be more to learn even in the simplest of acts like eating, isn't a comfortable one for a young guy who is in this constant state of belief that he is all grown up. 

Someone, I don't know who, but someone who thought they were smarter than me, then told me the most unbelievably absurd thing I had heard in all of my 5 year long life. They asked me to just keep chewing and never, ever swallow! I gave an incredulous gasp. Just chew? What happened to pulpifying, swallowing and the incredibly awesome burping? And if they weren't coming, why chew at all?

Decades have passed but I have still not come to terms with the concept of savouring a Chewing Gum. Compare it to chocolate and you'll see the lack of goodness in it. A chocolate embraces you in the warm delight of its gooey, rich taste before selflessly dissolving on your tongue, while a chewing gum is nothing but a desperate piece of confectionary that promises you transient flavour, and an eternity of pointless jaw movements. Chewing a piece of gum is probably the most futile of activities ever adopted by man. I say this because the vehement chewing for hours affects absolutely nothing; it's like applying force on something without causing any displacement, which leaves you with zero work done. In fact, I am inclined to believe that if we all decided to stop chewing gum as a nation, our energies would be utilized better and the economy would finally look up.

I refuse to eat stuff to spit it. It is a horrible feeling when you know what you are doing has absolutely no possibility of ever leading to something even remotely useful. It is an act devoid of any consequence and merely gives you an illusion of being busy when all you are doing is simply disturbing the inertia of your jaws. Chewing Gum is a concentrated mass of evilness hiding behind a sweet veil. Make yourself useful in life, quit the gum.

Chew on it.

Image source : google images

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