Shelf No. 2,
Right Glass Cabinet,
Mrs. Moss’s Kitchen
Sub: Time to break-up
Let me begin by saying how terribly relieved I am to know that this letter will be read to you by dear aunt tea-pot and that you will not be alone in this tough time.
My Sauciepie, my dazzling Saucerer, my very own Saucy, I am extremely sorry for doing this to you. May the Gods of ceramic and mud give you strength and a purpose in the millennia to come. I know our story is old. Older, perhaps, than that of Romeo-Juliet & Laila-Majnu.
You were created from our own Mud God’s atom, from the earth, eons ago in the middle ages by the best potters and painted by the best artists, to hold the delicious sauces that spiced up the king’s dinners. You were decorated with petite prints and molded with a perfect circular indentation to hold only that much so as to enhance and not burn the royal tongues. To them, as to me, you brought balance. You were always the pride of the potter who crafted you and the artist who adorned you.
I remind you of your strong heritage and resolute purpose, because I know that my words are shattering. As time went by and humans started to brew the coffee and cocoa beans and boil the tea leaves, they created the magic that would enable them to conquer sleep and drowsiness. And with this magic, I came into existence and they found you a partner for life. I was to hold their brew and to keep it warm. You were to expel the extra heat and save their lips from burning. You were to bear the stains when the tea spilt out of me. To absorb the heat that would otherwise break me. To enable the blissful slurping of the older gentlemen as they enjoyed their tea.
And as age would catch up and we would crack and our petite matching patterns would fade, I would be melted to be re-crafted, brand new. But you, you would live on in the royal feline chambers, to feed them milk and broth that they could not hold otherwise. For centuries, you outlived and outpurposed me.
But today, times have changed dear sauciepie. Times have changed and so have crockery fashions and men’s appetite for the ghastly magical brew that keeps them awake. We, cup & saucer, petite and delicate, are now only for exhibits in Asian museums and gift stores. Mere symbols of an age gone by, and Mugs are what men use to devour their magic from now. Cold, hot, alcoholic or caffeinated. Mugs are the “in” thing now. In fact, pouring tea and slurping it off a saucer is nothing short of a sign of ill-manners today.
And so dear Saucer, the time has come for us to part ways. Yes humans have lost their sense of beauty and grandiose, but what to do now? You have become and will remain a jewel, a collector’s item, a plaque symbolizing the South Asian traditions. But I, I do not want to become a mere show-piece.
And so, I have decided, from now onwards, I will be made a little taller and more cylindrical, poured into, drunk from, washed and placed on shelves of the common man for a variety of purposes. I need you no more. For your work will now be done by coasters, that are cheaper and uglier- no doubt, but nevertheless, serve the same purpose.
And so, goodbye my dear Saucer. We were used for generations to teach etiquette and adorn tea parties and decorate shelves and add homeliness to a bare kitchen. But, we will no longer be a “thing”.
I am not a petite curvy delicate porcelain piece of crockery who needs to sit on you for stability and completeness. I am a strong, independent, monochromatic, thick walled and cost-effective “Mug”- with a purpose. And my partner is now the Coaster.
Yours once but no more,
Cup (alias Mug)
My Dear Cup (aka Mug)
Hope you are enjoying your newfound monochromatic new life. Let me begin with a sincere attempt to convince you of my undying love and affection by saying this ‘Cups and Saucers do not break-up, they only break-down’. ‘Break’ – you get that? Ha ha ha…. I almost rocked off Mrs. Moss’s shelf while writing that pun. Don’t you miss this clanker of jokes? Do you still want to leave? Leave me, the bearer of your heat, the absorber of your spills?
You say you have transformed and grown for a purpose of your existence. But a cup can never become a mug. Hell, mugs are for beers, mugs are for milk, mugs are for overgrown alcoholics and little children. We, the cup & saucer were not created for this mediocre class. We were destined to sit on the elites’ tables and adorn their parties with our delicate artwork.
Yes, I came into this world a few centuries before you. But I asked them for you. Yes I did. You know nothing about your own inception. You think those capitalist elites did not try to drink hot simmering beverages in flat bottomed staid glasses? You think these miserly masters did not try placing a thick boring plain glass on me? But I refused! I made them see the errors of their ways. I made them realize the need for custom made, delicately crafted crevices to hold the exact amount of liquid they could consume. The need for a beautiful little thing that would fit perfectly in my little indentation. Not the staunch ugly glass. I was lonely. I needed to talk to someone nice and new and so everytime they placed that hideous glass on me I toppled it over. And finally they realised the instability of a glass on a saucer. That is when they got the best artists and potters to create you, my naïve little cup-cake, my cuppy-bum my cuppa. You are nothing without me. I complete you.
And you think Wren and Martin are going to change their grammar books and replace the “fill in the blanks” and “match the following” questions for Mug and Coaster from Cup & Saucer? No dear… that will never happen.
The fact that dear aunt tea pot did not have to read out this letter to me but instead a set of six of us Saucers are singing this to you from across Mrs. Moss’s kitchen is proof that Saucer days are not over yet.
Yes, I agree I have compromised and turned monochromatic and flatter and disc-ier for the gory sense of art and purpose this generation has. Yes I have also lost that perfectly carved depression in the center for a shallower curve to be used as a dish whenever Mrs. Moss’s young daughter -in -law doesn’t feel like washing the used ones. And yes, just occassionally I am still used to feed the cats. But I am right here, for you, ugliness and economical and all.
My undisputed purpose in life is to complete you, to complete us. With that romantic notion, I stand here reapplying to be your partner for this life and the many more to come. Leave the coaster. It is just for stains. Flat and small and without an identity. Sometimes hexagonal, sometimes round and sometimes even square!
We, the cup & saucer, are symbols of wealth, etiquette and correct grammar. We appear together in books and stories and paintings and just everywhere. Ending the cup & saucer is like ending an epic.
I am going to wait right here, with open shelf doors and a place on my stand for your one clink. Whenever (and not if ever) you are ready my cup darling.
Yours today and forever,
The Royal Saucerer