This morning as our help served cornflakes to the kiddoos while I was gulping down my glass of dalia before leaving for work, daddy dear added two spoons full of muesli (his latest addition during our weekend provision shopping) to each of the bowls. Anu (firstborn) started crying because she doesn’t like anything that she has not tried out earlier. I do not like kids crying sitting in front of food, so after pacifying her with a few words, I just left the place to avoid any further arguments on this.
Later on I called her up from the cab and told her, “Papa asked you to have it only because he loves you and wants the best for you, right???” To this she responded, “Didn’t you get any other person to get married to? Why did you have to get us this Papa?” I replied saying, “It was Papa who got you this Mamma?” She said, “You’re fine. But can we have Papa changed for a while?” 😀
I couldn’t stop smiling. I know once she is back home from school, she’ll again be Papa’s princess and will keep on calling him till he reaches home. And then she’ll have her list of complaints against Mamma. 🙂
I seriously do not like kids crying while having food.
The main reason being that all my childhood, I have had food while I was crying. (I hope Acha, my father, is reading this.) Acha was pretty strict about finishing food and eating what is served. He would walk the length of the room as Amma fed me. And I was always crying because I couldn’t manage to finish the food. As he moved the other way, Amma used to eat a few bites herself to help me from getting scolded again and again.
That is one reason I do not force my kids. I believe that kids eat enough for themselves. Even our pediatrician said so. If they refuse to eat anything at all, I do give them my piece of mind and they do agree and eat food after that. As much as they can. But since I myself do not like being forced to do anything, I do not like forcing anybody for anything. I serve them only as much as they can finish and they have the liberty of asking for more if they wish. Forced eating I feel leads to the kids throwing up later or falling ill. I feel anything that is done happily serves the purpose and anything done unhappily only leads to further displeasure or unhappiness. May be I am wrong. But that’s how it is.
Food is something I rarely comment on. Until unless a food item is awfully pathetic I wouldn’t utter anything against it. All I do is to take minimal serving of the food item. Why go far, the vendor at our office sometimes brings something called tadka dal and we literally have to jump into it and swim across to find 3-4 grains of dal. I still never complained. Of course, I did record my displeasure in the feedback register. 😉 A trait imbibed in me by my Dad during his 10 year vanavasa. We used to write letters regularly to each other and Dad always shared his official trips to various countries and the different food items that he tried. I especially remember his Philippines trip during the year 1994 when Sushmita Sen won the Miss. Universe pageant.
In one of the letters he mentioned having tasted crabs and lobsters. I wrote back to him with a ‘Yuck! That’s terrible’. His reply was a letter which made me accept that we should be thankful for every bite of food that we get to eat because there are plenty of people on earth who do not even get that one bite. He also mentioned that one must adapt themselves to eat anything that they get if they truly wanted to survive. He connected it with the food chain. I still have that letter in my collection of Letters from a Father to his Daughter.
My first international trip was in February 2004 (just a year after marriage) to Bangkok, Thailand. Since we were working in the same organization, hubby too was travelling on that trip. In those days, we got only a fixed amount in dollars for our expense during the official stay. Salaries were in lower four figures and we were a bunch that were taught to save as much as for the rainy days. So there I was with hubby calculating every single expense, telling ourselves multiple times that this is not something we can’t live without, killing our urge to buy something interesting every single time. Money honestly was an issue during those days because we had just started living independently and were trying hard to prove that our decision to be together was a well-thought one. Thus we used to save enough from the fixed allowance which helped us come back with enough money to buy some big utility item for our dream home.
It was during that trip that I along with hubby and some more colleagues went out to have lunch. We went to a local shop, which we were told was the only one which offered vegetarian food (they selected that one only because I was a vegan during those days. So sweet naa 🙂 ). Thailand streets have a strange kind of smell which nauseated me. We sat down and the boys (sales reps from hubby’s team) ordered vegetarian food for the bhabhi. First came the yellow-colored plastic plates and then came the rice, pure white. Then came the main dish, a blood red colored liquid which smelled awful. I took just one bite and I ran out of the place. That trip was awful until the last night when our MD met us in the hotel lobby and took us to Sukumvit Soi, where there were lots of Indian restaurants including vegetarian ones. We had a celebratory meal at Dosa Corner. A simple single masala dosa in that year costed us around 800 bucks. That was a realization for me that you can never be sure that you’ll get your kind of food at all time and within your budget.
Another episode was my trip to New York in August 2007. Jet lag was a major trouble and then there was food. There were those boiled veggies, sauces and other dishes which I couldn’t make out as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. But by this time, I had started taking non-vegetarian food occasionally. Thanks to the husband! So, I managed with some boiled corns, salads, and steamed beans and fish. Though I would not say, I had them happily. On our last night there, along with a colleague I went to Saravana Bhavan at Lexington Avenue and had a sumptuous meal. But these trips were eye-openers and I accepted that one has to be ready for adaptability if one wishes to survive and excel under all circumstances.
A lesson I wish Anu learns sooner.