I was at an auction over the weekend and although I bid on a number of things, I really only won one. But I also got part of another lot. I am always amused by the way the auction house puts lots together. This particular lot was three contemporary smoked Lucite tables and lamps, plus a brass and glass “lighting device”. I didn’t want the contemporary goods, and the hipsters who did, didn’t want this piece.
At first, I thought it was some sort of tiffin. Tiffin is an old English word for a light lunch, and also the name of the multi-compartment metal lunch box that carries it. They are filled with a variety of foods including rice, lentils, vegetables, etc. Tiffin Wallahs originated over a century ago when the many Indians working for British companies disliked the food served at work. Tiffin service was created to bring home cooking to the workplace.More than 200,000 tiffins are delivered each day in Mumbai alone.
My friend Eric initially thought this was some sort of fishing box – you’d attract the fish with the lantern, keep your worms and bait in the bins and put the fish in the bottom compartment – but we soon discounted that.
So, it’s not a tiffin, it’s not a lighting device, and it’s not a fishing box. Do you know what it is? We certainly don’t.