Sometimes you discover life in a grain of rice. At lunchtime, I brought out the dish that had rice covered with stewed vegetables. Capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, spring onion, beans. They glazed as the water and touch of oil broke their reverie.
I emptied the mix on the plate. What had looked quite adequate in the pan was really a very tiny portion. Can heat evaporate solids? Or did I just see more than there was in the vessel? Perhaps it was too small and the food filled it up?
The plate looked forlorn. I spread out the food, extending it towards the edge. I had been deceived by its appearance once; I could do it again, this time planning the deception.
I took small bites. Chewed slowly. Relished every scrunch of the vegetables. Each grain of rice occupied my mind. Have you masticated a single grain? It isn't easy. It is like something that you want badly and is within your reach, and then it just disappears before your very eyes.
I was holding on to rice grains, and thought about the many things that have escaped. Were they so small that I could not hold on to them? Or were they meant to tantalise and leave?
It would have taken a quick call to order something and have it delivered at the doorstep. The fridge that usually has quite a few tidbits did not have anything that would satiate hunger. I am happy enough even with hummus on rusk, but it wasn't there.
I pulled out a bar of chocolate. I eat chocolate everyday, usually dark. I seem to like my sweets slightly bitter, but I rarely sugarcoat naked bitter. Instead, I let it loll on my tongue till it dissolves like sweetness.
It was when I was biting into the chunk of chocolate that I thought about empty plates, empty stomachs. I cannot fake sympathy. I know that reality is nothing close. This is not even an analogy.
I was thinking about emptiness. Can it ever be calculated or measured? Did I deliberately choose to sit with a half-empty plate because the halfness is a more potent comment on the fullness of the empty?