Gizmo Lovers This story is meant for those of you who have a great obsession for modern gadgets. I mean the guys who meticulously watch the ads on TV and browse through websites to keep looking for the latest gizmos. Their passion for owning these things before anyone else could even set their eyes on them is baffling, to say the least. And I have no words to describe the pride that they display when the gizmo is actually in their hands. If there is a billion dollar market for an ultrasonic mosquito repellent, the credit for the same should go in no small measure to these gizmo collectors. I was with one such friend recently, generally having a pleasant tête-à-tête on what the future held for these gizmo lovers. While we were in an animated discussion about a gadget that tied the shoelaces for those well-endowed men who found reaching their feet a tougher task than reaching for the roof, the doorbell chimed melodiously and a courier was ushered in carrying a large parcel. I am worse than a cat in the matter of curiosity and I, therefore, wasted no time in soliciting information about the parcel. My ever-obliging friend promptly opened the box and displayed to me a glittering gadget. It was one of those super-cutters which not only cut, but slice, grate and did all that a hapless vegetable could be subjected to. The vegetables came out of the ordeal in such shapes and sizes that a teacher would have found them handy tools to teach geometry to high-school students. Just then, his daughter walked in, took one quick look at the gadget and instantly expressed her disapproval of the same raising a valid objection that she saw no need for such a gadget when they already had one at home. When everyone looked askance at her, she replied, “Meena”, the name being that of their servant maid. I must say that I was in total agreement with the daughter. I have always abhorred all gadgets that made dealing with vegetables ridiculously easy. Not that I am one of those obstinate guys fettered by traditions who would not look at any of those innovative gadgets, however useful they may be. In fact, I have never had any objection to gadgets of any kind, save those that cut, slice and grate vegetables. Why, you may ask, is that I have particular objection to the super cutters that make life in the kitchen far more comfortable. The reason is not really far to seek. Every morning, as soon as she finished her morning routine, my aged mother would make a beeline to the fridge, would take out the vegetables and start cutting them as required for the day’s menu. She might not match the super gadgets in their incredible speed or versatility but she would go about her job very religiously and with such a sense of purpose that really would move me. Here is a woman, I would tell myself, who presided over the family for over six decades, sweating it out day in and day out to satisfy even the most whimsical of our fancies, but now reduced to the status of a non-playing captain merely because her age has finally caught up with her. In her late 80s, when her spirit was as willing as ever, but her flesh was not, she would continue to show her love and concern for her family through some small gestures, the early morning call of cutting the vegetables, being one of them. Sometimes, whenever my better half wanted to hurry through the cooking, and consequently would take over the vegetable cutting from my mother, my mother’s face would register such a great disappointment that would really wrench my heart. It was as though she had ceased to be of any use to the family and the taking over of the ritual of vegetable cutting from her frail hands was a cold reminder that her time had come. If the numero uno of a multinational was shown the door for under-performance, he might probably understand the kind of emotion that my mother felt when she was denied of the job of vegetable cutting. I do not think I had any right to deny my mother this simple pleasure of being able to continue her loving service to the family. Sorry folks! I really have no use for these super-cutters.