Masala Magazine Thailand



by Shradha Aswani

Dolly Koghar muses on our fitrat.

My curiosity has finally gone beyond the suppressible point. I need to understand why we do what we do, which is open our mouths and ask ridiculous questions to which the answers are already glaring us in the face. The classic one being, “Are you sleeping?” There are no multiple choices to that, either the person was already awake or you’ve just woken them up. Another one that tickles me with both the question and the answer is, “Are you ok?” Isn’t the answer more than obvious if the person is dabbing their puff y, red eyes with the end of their sleeves and their nose is red and dribbling goo and they’re in the throes of stifling their sobs? However, what’s even more ludicrous is the response, which is usually, “I’m fi ne.” I really don’t need to know why you are bawling, but at least have the tenacity to admit that you’re NOT fine!! Claiming to be ok when you’re clearly not will kill the conversation and stump the questioner from offering any words of comfort.

Another one I and every housewife that ever lived has asked, either due to habit or because we love to test
the fruit vendors’ patience and honesty, is if his wares are fresh and sweet. Ladies, which vendor will tell us
otherwise; then we even ‘bite’ into his story of only earning a few Baht’s worth of profit! Another weird one is when the food arrives on the table at a much-frequented, authentic Thai food joint and we, being true-blue locals, have the audacity to ask if their gaeng daeng is hot and the yum that’s abundantly dotted with bright, red pieces is phed. For Pete’s sake, do we not have eyes and some common sense? Just the other day, I even asked the manicurist if my feet looked better after she was done. She looked straight into my eyes and said nothing, which said too much.

I’ve also very often wondered why we keep glancing at our watches or picking up our phones to check the time, and how keeping tabs on the ongoing tick-tock of the clock could either slow time down before something that we’re hesitant to face, like a dentists’ appointment; or expedite it towards a moment we are
excitedly looking forward to, like a flight or a piping hot cuppa when we really needed it.

What I find really, noticeably bizarre is when everybody is riding in a crowded elevator, except for those with their noses buried in their mobiles, everyone collectively locks their gaze on the lit-up floor numbers passing by until the elevator halts to a stop. Why and for what purpose do we do that? Will it make the floor we are heading for arrive faster, or by some mind power, the elevator could/would/should skip all other floors and head directly to ours?

To ask pointless questions and to interrogate the whys and why nots and the coulds and shoulds of whatever
is, seems to be a big part of our embedded inherent nature, of our fitrat, which does not allow us to accept things as and how they are. We just love to, and are great at, confounding and complicating our own lives
unnecessarily. As Eckhart Tolle notes, we are creatures who “get lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating – lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems.” Unlike nature, where everything and everyone exists harmoniously with what is, as is; be it a tree or a rock or the cow chewing cud and passing it through its four stomachs, they ask no questions neither do they scurry to be something else nor somewhere other than where they already are. We have yet a lot to learn and as per Leonardo da Vinci, “The wisest and noblest teacher is nature itself.”

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