The concept of a remainder has fascinated me ever since I was taught long division. The remainder is what is left after the denominator has taken away everything it can from the dividend.
When I crave for ice-cream, I look up parlours nearby. I discover that Victoria ice-cream is rated high on Yelp and Google Maps. I also remember a friend in the neighbourhood recommending their Marzipan and Belgian chocolate flavours. I decide to go there for dessert after lunch.
I taste my first spoonful of the ice-cream sundae. Then a second and then the third one. What am I tasting? What am I experiencing?
Firstly, there are my expectations. These are influenced by what caused my ice-cream craving – perhaps a stressful week at work. Then there are bars set by the reviews I have read and the weight of my friend’s recommendation. There is also the collective impression of all the fine ice-cream I have eaten in the past – from Swensen’s parlour in Bangalore to Suso Gelatoteca in Venice, and how this sundae fares in comparison.
Secondly, there is my conditioning, both natural and nurtured. How the human mind responds to a frozen, flavoured, sugary concoction of milk and cream slurped by the tongue. There is the place ice-cream holds in our imagination and our culture today – one that is so different from the recipe Marco Polo brought back to Italy from China. There is my personal sentiments with ice-cream as a dessert that reminds me of eating out with my family. There is the impression that the ambience of Victoria ice-cream’s satin red interiors has on my psyche at that moment.
Once all of these divisors are taken away their share, what remains is my actual perception of the ice-cream cone in my hand, for what it actually is.