Mamma, better be on your guard today, warned my daughter Kirtana before rushing off to college.
Be alert the whole of today, advised my husband even as he was leaving for his Business School.
Aunty, don’t fall into anyone’s trap today, suggested my neighbour’s son, Karthik. ( I was his Godmother).
Thanks a ton for warning me, I said feeling touched at the concern all the three showed towards me and went about my chores.
Amma, what do you want me to prepare for lunch, enquired my cook, Shanta who was more a good person than a good cook.
Why don’t you make something different today for a change? I said.
Yes, amma, that’s a good idea. Do you want Andhra, Karnataka or Chennai food, she asked quite excited at the thought of probably to experiment her culinary prowess on us.
Whatever you are good at, I said stressing on good.
Amma, please allow me to do everything by myself today. Right from chopping vegetables etc. she insisted and made her way to the kitchen.
Just then the phone rang and it was my friend Sunitha. She wanted to know if she could drop in.
“Most welcome, why don’t you join me for lunch,” I invited her and she readily agreed.
Even as I hung up the phone, it rang again, “What’s for lunch mamma? Is there something that I like or shall I have it in the college canteen? Kirtana asked impatiently, (I could sense she was ravenous).
I am sure you will like what Shanta is preparing today. I can assure you the menu will certainly be different, I said.
Again the phone rang, it was my husband on the line. He called to say he was bringing along a guest for lunch.
“Try not to be late”, I said knowing his poor sense of time.
It was one ‘o’ clock and my friend Sunitha was the first to arrive followed by the other three.
Let’s have lunch straightaway. I can eat a horse, I added not able to contain my hunger any longer having worked up an appetite to relish everything Shanta made.
What lunch? Don’t expect us to eat again, all the four said in unison.
But, but, I thought you people were coming ……I stopped halfway noticing their subdued smiles.
What am I going to do with all the food Shanta prepared! I said flabbergasted.
Why don’t you have a look at what she prepared? Suggested my husband laughing.
I rushed into the kitchen and quickly opened all the casseroles one by one. I was shocked to find all of them empty except for the last one. There was a slip of paper on which something was written in Tamil. Since I could not read tamil, it made no sense. However the number written at the end made but it was too late!
N Meera Raghavendra Rao