Morning Ritual and Darwin’s theory of Survival
A typical day for me would always start not with bird’s chirping happily welcoming the sun near my window.Rather, it is the sound of a handy pebble stone crushing the ginger, hitting the granite slab below ,due to its large base, over which the ginger is placed.That’s my “waking bell”, sound waves passing from kitchen to my room.It stimulates my brain, which was until so far ideal, now starts manipulating events that are happening around me presently, my father waiting for his morning tea reading today’s news, my sister laptoping in her room, my mother crushing the ginger to spice up the tea in the kitchen, though I am still not awake.My brain signals me that my mother will shout my name in ten minutes for having tea not without disturbing my father’s deep reading.This disturbance creates a cascading effect in my father’s brain, signalling him that his son has become lazy.Such instincts of mine pushes my body to fresh up within ten minutes, to join the morning tea ritual with my parents.The evolutionary pressure in me creates a web of events once the waking bell is heard which is discerned by my brain.I respond with my actions and survive the shouting of my mother and cascading effect of my father, to put it in Darwin’s term, “Survival of the fittest”.
(Waking bell having traces of ginger)
Arrival: Stone tool enters the Kitchen
Located in Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu ,Valparai, a key tourist destination often in news for leopard attacking the villagers and elephants ransacking the plantations.It was G.A.Carver Marsh ,a well known British entrepreneur whose statue still survives in Valparai as a symbol of deforestation, successfully laid the foundation of tea and coffee estates in this piece of southern hill station after few failed attempts by entrepreneurs of Madras presidency.When my family visited this place our tour guide told us about the Pebble river describing that the shallow water flowing over the pebble bed will cure knee pains if we walk over them which is of course, a big lie ! It is here, in this river I picked up the pebbles selectively and carried them to the plains of Chennai.Some pebbles went into my fish tank and one big pebble went into the kitchen.
In 1863 it was here in Chennai near Pallavaram the first Palaeolithic tool was found in India by Robert Bruce Foote an officer of the Geological survey of India.He had found a handaxe and thus laid the foundation of Indian Prehistory which received international recognition within few decades.Foote and his friend William King found another site having stone tools, hand-axes, cleavers and flake tools, at Attirampakkam, near the Kortallayar river, in Tiruvallur district, 60 km from Chennai.
(Attirampakkam stone tools could be 1.5 million years old)
Going back to one fine morning in Tanzania
Before when britishers plagued China during 19th century by exporting opium which they planted in India to import tea from Chinese securing Britain’s depleting silver resource, before the Boston tea party where bags of tea got dumped by Americans in Boston harbour which resulted in American revolution during 18th century, to 3rd millennium AD when tea was first originated in China, to where our ancestral Homo sapiens successfully running genocide of Homo neanderthals and still go back further to some 1.5 million years and stop at “Olduvai gorge” located in Tanzania( East Africa).Here in this site lived our ancestral sapiens who smashed the dead animals using tools made of bone and stone, reminds me the stone tool I picked from pebble river, maybe because some traits of these men still exists in me.
(A famous shot from Kubrick’s 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY,
depicting the first smash)
“With this power in hand, children’s of archaic sapiens made an arduous journey to other parts of the world leaving behind their precious tools, transforming speculations into paintings for us to study and understand them.One small action, but a giant step in human history”.
(Bhimbetka cave paintings in Madhya Pradesh,India)
Tools and Traits : A seamless journey of more than 2million years
How our species successfully passed the knowledge to us while other species failed to a great extent? The answer lies in the evolution.To cut a long story short, bipedalism which freed our hands to carry things, large brains which consumes average energy, domestication of fire which created a gulf between man and animal ,learning abilities, communication through language, social structures, gossiping, narrating the incidents that happened last year to a group of friendly sapiens, mass cooperation, imagined orders such as money, religion,political ideologies are some of the traits unique to our own species ultimately resulted in agricultural and mental revolution.
After discovering the laws of the universe, our species standing at the edge of scientific revolution is still designing tools which can eventually destroy its own world.The problem our species face comes from its own brothers trying to redesign the imagined order using various forms of tools and traits such as politics, religion, terrorism, nuclear weapons, trade wars all buttressing each other.We often forget to embrace the journey we humans have made so far but, not without dividing the world which we inhabit into, haves and have-nots.
(Lucy, a few seconds before the 100%)
When was the last time you used stones? Let me guess, may be you aimed one at your friend for fun or to frighten the barking dog or grained using querns or you might have played stone skipping for which the stone is essential. If you time travel to 70,000 A.D such acts were very common among the stone age people.Behind these acts lie a million years of history which connects all of us ! The aim of this article is to give a narration of history connecting past and present, besides cherishing the idea of unity.