Towaku. (Japanese for Bewilderment)
Robin was uncomfortable. Using chopsticks. In a crowded airport. That too. Narita. Tokyo.
10 years old. He was. Stepping. Slowly. Teenage. And he knew. The joy. That would come. With. Teenage.
First love. Induction to adulthood. First kiss perhaps. If God. Would be benevolent.
But. Papa insisted. He must. Learn one day. To be. Global citizen. Today. An opportunity. First steps. Learning. Global practices. Using Chopsticks In Tokyo.
Robin held the chopsticks. And he felt awakward. The chopsticks embraced. As if his fingers. And they moved. Freely.
Papa said. ‘ Robin follow the instructions ‘ Mr Chu. A teacher. In his school. Had taught. Students. The use of chopsticks. Perfectly.
Robin had learned well. He was trying. As Mr Chu had taught. But the chopsticks moved. As if on their own. Ignoring the Master. Robin. In manouvering them.
Papa was unhappy. He frowned. ‘ Robin, this is…’
A soft but firm voice. From behind. Completed. ‘Perfect. This is perfect.’
‘ This is the traditional Kyoto style of using chopsticks. A style. Lost today. In the era of globalization. User friendliness. Generalizations.
Happy to see you. My boy. Use these so perfectly. ‘
And the Chopsticks. As if in their own. Danced. Manouvered. And picked up next few strands of noodles. From the plate.
Papa stood up. Bowed. ‘ Good morning, Sir. I am Mr. Richards. From India. My son, Robin. ‘
The elderly. Bowed. ‘ I am Mr. Tashimara. Professor. Ancient Japanese History. Tokyo University. ‘
‘ You son. Robin. Follows tradition. Very happy. To see. ‘
Professor touched Robin’s head. ‘ May he do well. ‘
And walked on.
Robin. Stared. Bewildered.
Professor. Papa. Chopsticks. Walking. Smiling. Embracing.