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Medicine bottle


There’s nothing romantic about it, but in me this little medicine bottle evokes many emotions. I feel love, pity, and sadness for the people in India who make them. I don’t know the truths of their lives so I imagine what makes me feel good, what gives my image of the medicine bottle meaning and depth.

I imagine the people at the Himalaya Research Laboratory earn their living putting little pills in these little bottles, unconcerned about what’s going on in America. They don’t care how fancy American medicine bottles are. Or even if they do, they know their own limitations based on where they live and who they are and they smilingly make-do with what they have – these little medicine bottles.

I picture a frail Indian man handing over one of these little bottles to a little girl who’s come to collect medication for her parent. He picks it off a wooden shelf where many such little bottles he keeps. All the bottles look alike, and it’s only from his experience that he knows where to place his hand without even looking. He makes a record in a notebook because he doesn’t have a computer. He knows who she is, knows her family, and he doesn’t collect money from her because he knows her dad will pay him next time they meet.

They sell better bottles but deliberately I choose this one. The sticker is printed on primitive paper and wrapped around the bottle crookedly. The bottle is hard to open but still I love it because it’s simple. It’s representative in my imagination of another lifestyle, a whole another world where everything is simpler and everyone is poor, and they manage to get by from making their Ayurvedic medicines and selling them in these little bottles. In the reality of the people who make them, fill them, and use them, it’s just another bottle. But for me, who’s seen the all-mighty American medicine bottle, this is the underdog, the lame child no one wants to adopt, and out of the weakness of my heart I choose that child above all others and welcome him with open arms into my life.

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