*This was written seven months ago, based on a prompt given by my professor.
I was walking up to the main road – in uniform – with my mother. My apartment was around 200-300 metres off the main road – but it was not like the usual idavazhi. It was more like those long driveways you made for sand palaces at the beach. I crossed the road, and waited for the bus.
I was so busy chatting with my mother that I noticed the bus only after it stopped in front of me. I jumped into it, only to realise lunch kit was with my mother. (So next time my teacher asks me, “Have you ever forgotten your lunch, I can say “Yes”.)
I was sitting in III A, worrying about my lunch. My class teacher informed me that my mother had called her up, and had asked her to let me have something from the canteen.
I was extremely excited at the thought since the canteen was only a week new. Finally the lunch bell rings, and I rush to the canteen. But to my disappointment, I discover veg meals on my table. I hate plain rice, especially the gundu gundu ones. They’re so scary, as if they will eat me up. But well, the sambar was good, so was the pickle. After lunch, I ran off to play, and almost forgot about this. Till I was back home.
My mother was eagerly waiting for me at the bus stop. On our walk back home, my mother started chatting: how I had forgotten my lunch, how she had worried so much that she called up my teacher and asked her to get me a pizza from the canteen.
“Pizza? I had meals!”, said I .
My mother’s smile flew away immediately, and she all she said was, “oh”.
I had stopped walking and was staring at her, in utter disappointment. But she snapped out of her trance, and we walked silently.
You are busy eating pizza. You pull out the big jalapeno, and deposit it in your mouth. A little bit of cheese follows from the tip of the sector. You settle down on the couch, and turn on the idiot box. Your mom is angry that you eat so much of junk, and that you have become such an excellent potato couch.
She starts murmuring and grumbling.
“What is it ma? Let me eat in peace.” You say.
“It’s all my fault.” She says. “I should have never forced you to taste this. Now all you eat is junk. Who will eat the vegetables? My child doesn’t like healthy food.”
“What’s wrong? And why would you force me to eat junk at all?” you ask, curious.
And she begins:
When you were really young, around five I think, we had gone to Pizza Corner. It was your first time, and you manged to try the garlic bread. But you didn’t want to eat pizza at all. You didn’t even want to try it. Perhaps you were intimidated by it, I don’t know.
(You stop chewing like a cow, and drop your jaw. No way, you protest. Don’t believe her – she is just messing with you.)
Believe it or not, that is the truth. I had to persuade you to try it. Just a bite. But no, you were so adamant. If only I had given up, and let you be.
(Seriously? You look at the pizza slice you are eating and silently apologise to it – for you hurt its feelings back then. You feel guilty.)
And once you had taken a bite, you liked it very much. And now, all you eat is pizza.
Somewhere near Malalparambu, Calicut little Neha is lying on her mother’s lap, extremely bored. She had had her dinner, but that too was boring. She was very excited at the thought of dinner, but all of it had vanished when she didn’t find anything special. She preferred her mother’s cooking – so crisp, hot and fast. She never had to wait long to eat. But now she was at her aunt’s.
Little Neha was the only kid in the house. Her cousins are much older to her. Her cousin sister is preparing for the medical entrance; and so the aunt never allows anybody to watch TV in peace. One would wonder why they have a TV at all. The uncle is always watching the news or sports. Poor little Neha hates both.
The uncle is watching news again. But everybody is sitting on the floor: her parents, the uncle, the aunt, and her cousin brother. The cousin sister is upstairs – in her room – locked. No, nobody locked her up, but she had locked it from the inside. This weird behaviour always intrigued little Neha. But the news bored her more than anything. Everybody is busy listening to, or perhaps trying to listen to the news. Except her. The elections are going on, but she is least bothered about it. Why should she be? She is not allowed to vote.
Her mother notices that she is quite distracted.
“Pay attention. The elections are up, you should know what’s happening around you’, she says.
“No. News is so boring. I don’t want to watch it.”, replies little Neha.
She asks,”Ok. Whom do you think should win?”
“Well….” Muses little Neha, quite take aback by the question.
“I think congress should win” she says finally remembering one of the very few names she knew in politics.
Why? Because there is Sonia Gandhi in it. Gandhi. She knew nothing more. Nobody is aware of this innocent conversation happening behind them, and they continue watching.