How are you?

There's this thing called 'Le Grand K' or 'Big K' – an egg-sized cylinder made of a platinum-iridium alloy. It's locked in the basement of the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Sèvres, just outside Paris. It's vacuum sealed under three bell jars, with zero change in temperature, voltage, or pressure. It has been there since 1879.

Le Grand K is the physical definition of a 'kilogram': the perfect 1000 grams. We use it as the standard for measuring mass and the mother hen of the metric system.

But just when we think we have something figured out - something so basic and so ubiquitous, it shows us a new magic trick. Le Grand K gained weight even though we protected it from change. We kept every variable the same. Except time. Time passed by and added weight.

And just like that, "How are you?" dances the same choreography. We ask it and answer it. We overhear it and overlook it. It's the same but with the passage of time, it gains weight and can startle us.

Sometimes the question itself isn't big enough. Its theatre is overcrowded and tries to put on a big show. But when an old friend asks, "How are you?" there's more meaning, more weight. Each time, its delight treads deeper into my smile; a quiet nostalgia.

Thankful for those who ask softhearted and heavy "How are you?"