Jar of Cloves

Sushrut Munje shares on Frankaffe an observation on the activity of choosing the best clove everyday - and how that relates to us leading our happy lives.
courtesy: Nithi Anand

The jar of cloves sits on an unassuming shelf, waiting for one to reach out for it a few times of the day, pick one or two cloves and munch them meditatively after food intake. It’s a habit many Indians have nurtured, and quite a healthy one too, it helps teeth stay healthy. Also, a curious habit is also evident when one is conducting the clove picking exercise. The jar is given a subtle wiggle to move the cloves around, and the best one is chosen to be the day’s feed.

New Best Clove Everyday

While no additions are made to the contents of the jar till its empty, we take time to choose the best one there is. Despite us having to eat them all some day. Despite most cloves being of the same quality. Despite the ‘best one’ being chosen in a moment’s whim not really being the best one in the jar. It’s just a mind game which lasts a moment.

Illusion of Control

Do we lead our happy lives telling ourselves that we have been under complete control of the circumstances? Do we believe we have made the best choices? Are we capable of identifying the best path, the best turn, choosing the right shirt? Is the clove we picked truly the best of the lot? Or do we ensure that the clove we choose ends up being the best one because we chose it?

Perception Calls the Shots

Our best clove for the day is merely perceived to be so. Favourite artists, the best park bench, cool wind and serene rainfall are desirable because that’s how the recipient perceives them to be. While we probably do not control the nature of the clove, we control its desirability quotient, thus making it the awesomest one for the day.

Interestingly, the very nature of the clove changes from day to day, because the one you chose today was not the best one yesterday. And the one you didn’t choose today might be the best one tomorrow. Nature of the clove, technically isn’t changing. Or it is, along with your perception towards it. You decide how good the clove is. You control how good it is. Because perception is a choice.

Life is a Jar of Cloves

Everything in life, around you, about you, simply is. We merely float in and out. Picking an experience every now and then, like choosing a clove from the jar. The illusion of control ensures that we make a decision, and choose a clove, choose to go through a certain experience. How we like the clove depends on our state of mind. How we lead our lives depends on our state of mind. Happy minds love all the cloves. They take the entire jar with them to the heavens.

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