BENGALURU: I remember the first cup I was ever gifted. I was a teenager, broke as a Greek bank and completely in love with a very sweet girl. She gave me a cup that said “Come on baby light my fire!”. I treasured the cup and drank coffee in it every single day for the next three years.Little did I know that the rest of my life would involve avoiding cups and mugs.
Today, I live in a bachelor pad with two other roommates. Two of us are stand-up comedians, and the third is an actor. In essence, we have nothing to do with corporate offices or cups. And yet, our house is full of cups from various sources. I did a little bit of research and found that human beings have been using cups even before written history was recorded. From the Chinese to Roman to Mesopotamian civilizations, cups were used both as cutlery and as awards.
I also read that in the earliest Greek sports tournaments, the prize usually involved fine olive oil, which was held in a large cup. Over the years, cups became symbolic of sporting victories. In tournaments that don’t award trophies, the winners are given plates – just in case you want to sip your tea off a saucer!
But I wonder how so many cups landed up at my place. I sometimes wonder if there are elves adding cups to our kitchen cupboard while we are asleep. I have found cups that have captions like “Today is the best day of my life”. And even though we are all bachelors, there’s a cup that reads”World’s Greatest Dad”.
Since the three of us had over 25 cups, it was time to put them to use. We tried everything possible. I started drinking tea in the morning with my “Seize the day!” cup. At night, I started drinking Bournvita to engage another cup. I used one cup as an ashtray and my friend planted a sapling in another. I placed another cup on my table as a mini dustbin. During house parties, I began making pegs for my friends in cups. And yet, the cups kept flowing in. I’m not one to cry over spilt milk, but I’d certainly smile over a broken cup. But thanks to modern technology, the cups of today are much sturdier than their ancestors. Not only do they survive a few falls, they last for years at a stretch.
These days, when I go to perform stand-up comedy for corporate companies, I stay away from any gifts that are cuboid in shape. For I know that beneath the glitter, there’ll be yet another ceramic cup that says “Proud to be a dinosaur!” I wonder if people actually buy cups anymore. Or do they simply buy a flat and wait for their friends and colleagues to gift them cups? Have cups moved from the cutlery industry to the gifting industry?
Diwali will be here in a couple of weeks, and you’ll probably be thinking of gifting ideas. Do yourself a favour, dear reader, and DO NOT gift your loved ones a cup. The world has too many cups already, and even if someone you know is the greatest dad of all time, or the best employee of the year – tell them personally instead of gifting them a cup!May your cup brim over –with things that are not cups!