The Curious Case Of The Household Refrigerator

Mid-Night Munching
Image used for representation only

Not, you understand, that I mean to brag. Really. But, that being said, here’s an admission about myself.

Thinking, long and hard, about issues that matter to all of us, is one of my traits that I am the most proud of.

And having thought (long and hard) about a particular issue, here’s what I’ve come up with. Now note, it might seem trivial, and rather inconsequential. But today evening, once you’re back home, visit the kitchen, open the door, and verify for yourself the following statement:

The likelihood of there being space in your refrigerator is inversely proportional to the square of the number of people in your household.

For those of you who are non-mathematically inclined, here’s a simpler way of putting it: are there more than two people in your household? If the answer to that question is yes, then good luck with storing leftovers.

One person in the household is just fine. You’ll get along without any problems whatsoever. A loaf of bread, multiple bottles of beer, and the biryani you ordered last year but have never gotten to throwing out doesn’t require a large fridge.

Two is also fine. Yes, you’re one half of a couple  now, but it’s fine. Yes, meals are now cooked more regularly, and there are therefore leftovers, but not all that often. Eating out is still a fairly regular thing, and therefore the situation is under control.

Ah, but more than two? Ice-cream, frozen meats, frozen peas, and those irritating smiley shaped pieces of potato goo.

And that’s for starters, and that’s only the freezer. Move into the regular section and you have vegetables, herbs, fruits, milk, cheese, butter, jam, fruit concentrate and those little bottles of spices that all refrigerators hoard. Not to mention sachets of ketchup, oregano and paprika that pizza vendors shower on us everytime we order food from them. Pickles, bottles of soya sauce, green and red chilli sauce, ketchup to round things off.

And all this, you realize, before we get to leftovers. We are genetically programmed to not throw out anything. Ever. Be it ever so small in size, or ever so pointless in terms of existence. It must not be discarded.

Two tablespoons of dal in a katori will jostle for space with half a teaspoon of rice in an equally large bowl. Salad that was made at some unremembered point of time will lie in resigned repose next to fruits that were cut up two months ago. Odds and ends, bits and pieces of food that belong by rights to the trash will await their inevitable fate, until a member of the household eventually opens the door to the refrigerator, sighs in exasperation, and spends the next thirty minutes in cleaning out the refrigerator.

But give it two weeks, and we’re back to square one. And more fool you, by the way, if you think that buying a larger refrigerator will cure this problem. All that’ll happen, as any experienced person will tell you, is you’ll accumulate more leftovers.

Do me a favor once you get back home tonight, as I was saying. Open the door, take a look inside, and help me patent Kulkarni’s First Law of Household Helplessness:

The likelihood of there being space in your refrigerator is inversely proportional to the square of the number of people in your household.

You’re welcome.



Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni

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