Curated

Every time I look, the world seems to have changed. When I looked recently, I found that I was being assaulted by curated products and services from all sides. Not products and services. Curated products and services.

Like onboard a recent domestic flight where I was offered a curated food selection that I had to pay for. Curated omelette. Curated bread roll. Curated fruit bowl. Curated cup of tea. It was a morning flight else they might have offered curated rice and curated ‘daal’ and curated chicken curry as well.

“Can you please pick up your cup, sir?” It could no longer be considered a request, considering the tone it was spoken in, even though a ‘please’ and ‘sir’ had been inserted in the sentence. It was the flight attendant, looking cross, almost shouting at me. Passengers seated around had stopped eating and were looking in our direction, hoping for entertainment on a flight with no video screens. Apparently, she had said it thrice already, as I was informed by a co-passenger.

On seeing the curated food on offer, my mind had wandered off to the good old days of flying. Though, on the back of the recent experience, no sane person would qualify them as the ‘good old days of flying’. Tell me which airline served curated omelette on a morning flight? No sir. Not one. Or curated bread roll? Or curated tea? Or even a curated fruit bowl? Flyers had to make do with uncurated omelettes and uncurated fruit bowls and uncurated bread rolls and uncurated cups of tea. Still want to call them the ‘good old days of flying’? Not me. No wonder we did not have to pay for them. Some mysteries get solved only when enough water has flown under the bridge. In the harsh glare of looks from other passengers, I picked up the cup from the tray in front of me and the attendant splashed curated tea into it and walked away.

Flipkart and Amazon are passe. What is not are curated shopping websites. These websites, as I read online, tap in the time of people and showcase them products selected wisely which saves a lot of time and also leads to the discovery of hidden gems floating around the internet. Curated web service offers effective personalized shopping experiences to make shopper’s shopping more enjoyable. And they, I understand, are able to do this because they are curated. 

Makes sense, doesn’t it? The traditional shopping websites must have been putting mascara under electronic products and mobile phones under books. Just to ensure that visitors waste a lot of time while searching for a product. And what about their Vision and Mission? I bet one of the statements in there somewhere would be, ‘To make the shopping experience hell for our visitors and ensure they never come back’. They aren’t curated, are they?

Though I never quite understood the meaning of the word, in my own objective and rational manner, I had associated it with something classy and exclusive. The reason perhaps is that my main exposure to the word had been in connection with ‘curated’ exhibits and ‘curated’ collections in museums in Europe. Like The London International Surrealist Exhibition curated by a group of artists and poets including Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Andre Bréton, Man Ray and Paul Éluard. Like the Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstausstellung) in Berlin that featured Russian Constructivism and curated by artists David Sterenberg, Nathan Altman, and Naum Gabo.

No, not based on visiting and experiencing those exhibits in museums in Europe, but reading about them online. Cannot clearly recollect if those were curated or not. The online articles silly, not the museums and their exhibits.

Uncomfortable with indiscriminate application of a word I associated with class and exclusivity, I lost no time in trying to find out more about it. To my utter shock and surprise, the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defined curated as: carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized or presented.

The pieces were starting to fit in. I was realising why businesses had to start curating products and services. Clearly airlines in the ‘good old days’ merely carelessly decided the menu for a flight, and presented it in a disorganised and thoughtless manner. Because, like other uncurated businesses of the time, they were running a business that was trying to make its customers unhappy and lose money for its owners as fast as possible. And stores would have made it a point to stock random items that were of no use to their customers so that they rapidly went out of business, paving the way for curated businesses to emerge.

Simply put, the avenues it opens up boggles the mind. Imagine buying a curated 42 inch flatscreen curated TV of a known brand. As opposed to? As opposed to an uncurated 42 inch flatscreen TV of the same known brand. Or a curated Sniper RUSSIA FIFA World cup 2018 Football, Size 5, Red colour. As opposed to? As opposed to an uncurated Sniper RUSSIA FIFA World cup 2018 Football, Size 5, Red colour. Simply put, the human race has risen above challenges threatening its existence and found a path to progress on.

I hope you liked this specially curated post. I must stop here. Need to run to Delhi to buy groceries as my neighbourhood green grocer has refused to supply me ever since I told him I will buy from him only if he stocks curated potatoes, onions and tomatoes. He doesn’t get it. I hope you do.

42 thoughts on “Curated

  1. Excellent information. I wonder if I should start offering my posts on my blog as being curated. Prior to your timely advice my posts were never carefully chosen no were they thoughtfully organized or presented. I know your aim was to be helpful but you thoughtlessly forgot the negative effect your post might have on the more sensitive amongst us.

  2. I think I’ll take uncurated common sense as an attribute. It is very helpful in choices and decision making. Seems curated common sense would not be common sense at all and therefore not very useful or as wise as regular common sense.

  3. You have presented a wonderfully funny take on a word reserved for the elite class. Using the word curated instead of presenting a menu must give these people a sense of superiority

  4. I have never read so many curated words in a single article before. However, the concept of curated things is as fuzzy or even fuzzier than before. I guess the reason for this is that we live more and more in curated world. Great post, my friend!

  5. I have never heard of curated food. When I Googled it, neither has Amazon. And that definition–quite odd. I usually think of ‘curated’ as a collection of some sort. Sigh.

    Airline flights–I’m paying an extra $1000 (yes, with three zeros) to get food and legroom on a flight from California to Japan. Seems worth it, doesn’t it?

    • It’s probably because Google and Amazon haven’t been curated well enough 😉
      $1000 extra? Wow! I do hope it is worthwhile. It’s probably the amount I am paying for a ticket from Delhi to LA and back.

  6. The other day, I picked up a whole bunch of curated toilet rolls. They were not manufactured in China and certainly not recycled. Ahhhhhhh…. curated ecstasy.

    Wife: You forgot your newspaper and what are you doing so long in the throne room?
    Me: Ahhhhhhh.

  7. Do we know how thoroughly curated was that omelette? Was it made from regular eggs or curated eggs, and if the eggs were laid by a regular or curated chickens? And was it cooked on a regular frying pan on a common stove or on a curated pan on a curated stove, and did the stove use curated gas or natural gas?

    • Human beings cannot blame anyone else. They created a structure for lifeless entities called corporations to come into being. The sole purpose of their existence is making money. Whether large or small, the only purpose of a business is to make money. Everything else be damned. And because it is a lifeless, soulless entity, nobody can be blamed.

  8. Haha. I definitely loved reading this curated post. Connotations and consequences of things being curated is interesting and funny to imagine with. Best wishes 💐🙂

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