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Some Pick Flowers, Others Pick Noses

In the moments of dilemma, the instants of uncertainty a man would stick the adventurer little finger up the nostril…
nose picking
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Women are famous for being able to do multi-tasking. ‘Dasabhuja’ or the Devi Durga – probably the most influential Hindu goddess with 10 hands, is what the woman at home has, I have heard. I have known the ‘mother’ species of the flock who could cook and eat at the same time, dress the children, pack their tiffin, help them brush their teeth, comb their hair, let the husband spend useless time first in the loo and then with the cup of tea, take the children to the bus-stop for the school bus.

And then, on their way to work they will type in To-Do lists of groceries, call the cook at home and tell her why they think last night’s dinner was oily, download sample questions of English and Mathematics for the children because these two are the toughest subjects in the syllabus, call the cook again since they remember suddenly that ‘aloo sabji’ (potato curry, an almost unanimous favourite in Indian homes) for two days on a trot will bore the husband and so, it can be ‘gobi manchurian’ (cabbage Manchurian) or ‘paneer masala’ for the night. 

The unmarried ones however have only a pair of hands and a pair of ears for the earphones to be plugged in for FM channels and RJ demigods whispering love in their ears. They could carry this routine uniformly throughout the year, if it rains or it scorches, applying make-up, while travelling in radio cabs or waiting for office shuttles, towards work or away from it, and mostly in-between.

If the ‘mother’ is a multi-functional all-purpose OTG, the man is a first-generation micro-wave heater – old, single-utility, noisy and barely functional. Like the unmarried women, men also face the same dilemma, how time contracts and how to have things done with minimum physical effort. We will want to dump a load of stones at a flock of birds, even though we have learnt that it’s always better to kill two with a single one. We love to dwell in dichotomies – to lift us to work or to work a way for our lift. 

In the moments of dilemma, the instants of uncertainty a man would stick the adventurer little finger up the nostril almost with the same unconscious zeal of the archeologist who is yet to stumble upon a rare discovery. The sidewalls of the excavated nostril will allow him plenty of jewels to dislodge. If he is in a meeting or driving a car he would dare not disturb others or put his life at risk by reaching his left pocket for a handkerchief. 

The man’s problem, the gravest of all is now, how to dislodge the treasure and he will shake his hand with a gentle eloquent swish with a flagrant hope that the item in his finger will fall off, not too close to him. In most cases the tiny satellite of your nose refuses to part ways with the host, until you give your hand a bigger swag when it flies uncontrollably. It may land on the next person in the meeting, your boss, the sweet intern from college or when you are driving in Indian roads the meal-delivery-boy’s helmet as he tries to squeeze past your car in a traffic signal. It is always better, when you find men around to ensure that there aren’t too many unidentified flying objects. 

I have seldom seen women pick their nose in public. For the ‘mother’ type they would need an extra hand for it due to shortage of free resources at their disposal. But the unmarried, alien ones with two hands and two legs are also not privileged to experience the fun. I guess the answer to this is deeper than the nasal tract. Is it because men are less refined than women of all types? Or it is just that the fingertips of women are less sensitive. Or is it that all the three nasal conchae of men end at a different location in the brain than women?

A friend of mine, a girl, who is neither unmarried nor with 10 hands assured me that there is a mystery to it. I raked my brains on what she meant for hours, days and a week and am certain now that this is worth a field of research. I have written long approach notes and proposals and have submitted them to the leading universities requesting them grant for this pioneering work. I haven’t heard back from them and I am sure it is because they are still unprepared for it, like most scientific discoveries have witnessed. 

The girl, my friend, met me recently with a ‘You know nothing’ look, mostly the ones they give when they wish to win you over, all the time in history. But when she told me the secret I was sure she knew better. Women pick flowers from trees with the same fingers men use to pick noses.

That simple. That fundamental. I have started changing my research orientation as a result. Now, I need to understand why unmarried women gulp while married men belch.

Image courtesy: Pinterest

Amitava Nag is an independent film critic and author from Kolkata. 16 Frames, Satyajit ray’s Heroes and Heroines, Beyond Apu 20 Favourite Film Roles of Soumitra Chatterjee, Reading the Silhouette are some of his published works. He is a founder-member and an editor of the online film magazine – Sihouette. He writes fiction and poetry in English as well as Bengali for several publications.

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