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It had been few months since Archana had returned from her sasural. She had settled back into her routine. Archana was a SAHM now. She had a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son and she had quit her job after her son was born. Now that she was at home, she preferred to cook herself. Shetooknoteofeveryone’slikingsandmadeavarietyofnutritiousandtastyitemsfor family meals. She also liked to be a hands-on mother, she was quite an active mom.
Today her Sasumaa was coming to stay with them for a month. Archana had cooked daal-baati choorma as it was her Sasumaa’s favorite dish. She had recently mastered the art of making jalebis. So she had planned for veg cutlets and jalebis to be served with masala chai.
When dadimaa reached home, both the children rushed to touch her feet and seek her blessings. Dadimaa lifted her 3-year-old grandson and hugged him tightly. She patted him lovingly all over and enjoyed his baby-talk and banter. She took out a large box of chocolates and handed over the full box to her grandson. The little boy was now over the moon; he had laid his hands on the full box. He gobbled down chocolates after chocolates considering there was such a good assortment out there.
Archana was aghast. She knew her kid’s huge appetite for sweets. She believed in indulgence but she also knew where to draw the line. She had seen her co-sister struggle with obesity for her teenage sons. Extreme sweet tooth ran in the family. But she kept quite out of respect. That she would vanish the chocolate box once it was out of sight and they would get their normal dose of chocolate as per the rules of her house.
Her mind was clouded by these thoughts when Sasumaa called out to her and said “Mera pota kitna patla ho gaya hai. Isko kuch khilati kyu nahi ho bahurani”.
Blood rushed through her veins. Why, why every time Sasumaa feels this way or worse even, makes her feel this way. Earlier the same statement was for her own son, now it was for her grandson. Does she realize how her bahu works around tirelessly to minimize the use of packaged or junk food? That she reads up constantly on interesting food recipes so as to provide a variation of appetizing food on the dining table. She also tops it up with interesting presentation ideas like, a Mickey Mouse shaped chilla and a tree shaped fruit salad. That she spends her spare mornings making fresh pasta sauce or homemade shakarparas. How she takes care of everyone’s food preferences, and why she had made daal-batti today? How much she had researched before arriving at Junior Horlicks as the health drink for her son as it contains natural ingredients like wheat and malted barley and only it is free of artificial colors and preservatives. Does Sasumaa even know how hard she works to inculcate the right eating habits in the kids. And that it’s not easy. She can pass on sweets every time and her kids will gleefully fill their tummy with sweets and grow fat. But is that good for the kids. Doesn’t Sasumaa know that habit formation happens in the early years?
The 3-year-old is growing up pretty fast. Even though he is on a very good diet, he shows no signs of chubbiness. And Archana is in a way glad for that. His height and weight are absolutely normal and he is quite active in his peer group. So what is the reason to kill herself with the “worry” of “Mera pota kitna patla ho gaya hai”. She wonders why her Sasumaa only finds her grandson thin. She has never ever once said this for her granddaughter.
But all these thoughts are futile. She knows it's best to keep these thoughts to herself. There was no point in resenting or retelling the same story. So she nodded her head in agreement and walked towards the kitchen to make hot jalebis.