A good thought before I hit the bed
Not that anything so good happened today. It was a usual day - a hectic day, in fact. Lots of work, little chit-chats with colleagues and a beer to give a finishing touch to it all. To be frank, I'm just sitting bored, not knowing what exactly to do.
But as my friend suggested, I'm trying to keep the bad thoughts at bay and bidding all good thoughts, if any, to my mind.
What did happen today?
Got up early, took bath, had my breakfast and headed off to work.
But yes. There is something worth mentioning.
I had a late lunch, at about half past two. I felt very hungry and ran into the pantry of our office with my lunch box carefully packed by my mom. And what did I find in the box?
Aha! Nice vegetable biryani and fish curry and pappadams and a boiled egg! Also I had taste-buds-tickling lemon pickle in the shelf of the pantry? What more can a hungry tummy ask for?
Can you believe it if I say I blushed at the very aroma of the dish?
There was only our maid at the pantry and she couldn't help commenting on the expression on my face? She said: "Never seen someone smiling at food like that!"
And mind you, I'm not a foodie by any standards. I don't know the names of half the dishes I devour.
Nevertheless, I must say, I had a most perfect lunch - all the almonds, the spicy fish curry, the dried grapes, the bitter-sweet pickle and the crispy pappadams. To top it all was the potato fry. Oh... The taste still linger in my tongue.
I couldn't eat up all the potato fry 'coz my tummy was already full. And just as when I was about to feed the cats with the left over, came in a colleague of mine. The poor (metaphorically) girl lives in a hostel and she buys food from nearby restaurants everyday.
"Do you like potato fries? I've a few left and if you don't want it, I'm going to throw it away."
"Potato fries? Wow? Let me taste it."
And I handed over whatever was left with me. She took out one piece, held it between her fingers, parted her lips and gently took it closer to her taste buds.
"Wow. Yummy. I'll take it," she said.
And when I came back to pack my box after washing my hands, she exclaimed: "Who cooks at your home?"
"My mom, of course!"
"I must say she's a pro in cooking."
I felt guilty at her remark because me-self and my sis has always thought our mom was the worst cook. We always felt she added more salt than required to the dishes she prepared so lovingly for us. We have always criticised her cooking. We always compared the dished prepared by our friend's mother to her's and commented that she was inferior to them all. Little did we realise that it's just the change in taste that made those dishes more delicious.
More than that, I did blush at the aroma of her biryani!
I immediately felt an urge to call her. I hesitated not more than a second to take out my mobile phone and ring her up.
She picked up the call after a second try.
"Hello amma." (Hello mom)
"Entheda?" (What's up son?)
"The biryani was just wonderful. It was havenly. Thanks a lot amma."
She was silent for a moment. Maybe it was overwhelming to have got a compliment from me who have only criticised her since God-knows-when?
"But it was not that good. The rice was a little sticky," she said.
"Who cares! It tasted absolutely wonderful. I've never tasted a better biryani. And the potato fries... They were just perfect. You know, a colleague of mine who tasted it said the same."
She was silent again. Maybe she never expected that. After all, a mother, cooking for her children, has always been a thankless servant. And I just thought how thankless I must be to complain that a sub-editor's job in a news media is thankless! After all, I get paid for that thankless job and also, I get to learn a lot being at the desk, editing one article after another - at least I could improve my language. And what would have my mom, or anyone's mom, benefited from cooking for their children and husband?
I felt I owed a "Thanks" to her and I can bet she felt overwhelmed with happiness at such a trivial jester of mine.
And a couple of hours back, when we were sitting and talking about a lot of other issues, she interrupted me and asked: "Did you really mean what you said?"
"About the biryani?"
"Absolutely. It was really wonderful. I'm only ashamed that it took another person to tell me what a wonderful cook you were."
She smiled and at that moment I knew she has forgiven me for all the pains I've ever caused her.
I kept her engaged in worldly talks until she stretched on her bed to sleep. I got up, switched off the light in her room with her permission and came out.
I wished I could give her a good-night kiss. But we are never used to such expressions and I left it at that.
I know her smile has not yet waned. I know she'd have a happy night's sleep.
What more can I ask for?
For the first time in my life, I made her smile, I could make her feel happy...
And I'm happy too...