“Liza, Sally come and have dinner”.I heard Amma calling my sisters.
That is odd, because she didn’t call me. I thought,may be I didn’t hear her. I was not hungry, but I have been taught from the time I can remember, not to skip dinner. My father was very particular about that.
He used to tell
“Children, if you go to sleep with an empty stomach, your soul would curse you, that is why even now there are temples in Kerala, where the poojari would call out each night three times ” is there anyone who didn’t have dinner?” and offer food for those who are hungry, before closing the temple door for the night.”
My sisters and Amma were already at the table eating dinner. I went to my usual place to sit and noticed that there was no plate for me. I got up to go to the kitchen to get a plate
“Where are you going?” I heard Amma asking me
“Kitchen, to get a plate”
“Don’t bother. There is no dinner for you tonight. This is my home and I have no intention of feeding ungrateful children.”
I looked at my mother. She was eating rice with rasam. The rasam I made sure Akkachi cooked, because I wanted my mother to have her favourite food after been away from home for 2 whole weeks. It is me, who walked all the way to Anichettan’s shop to buy the red chillies.
I looked at my sisters. Their eyes had fear written all over. They were watching me intently to see if I would fight with Amma. I saw Akkachi standing in the kitchen with her hand over her mouth and pleading with me not to speak and start a fight.
I didn’t want to fight. I went back to my room. It was odd, because 10 minutes ago, I wasn’t hungry, now I felt very hungry. It was the first time in my life I am going to bed with an empty stomach. I laid down on my bed. I couldn’t sleep.
My stomach was growling. I remembered what Ammachi told me about hunger. How she used to wait for her brother to deliver food each day. How her eyes used to play tricks on her. I got up from my bed and opend the window, I looked outside to see, if my eyes played any tricks. everything looked normal to me.
I could hear Amma talking and laughing with my sisters. I heard Amma telling them the story of the three little pigs. That was really odd, because Amma never told them stories. I am the one who always told them bed time stories. I felt Amma was taking my sisters away from me. She was shutting me out.
I was very upset and I went back to lay down on my bed to sleep.
I was half asleep and I fealt Akkachi shaking me and trying to wake me up.
“What is it Akkachi?”
“shhh Nina,Your mother is asleep already, come and eat some food.”
“Never mind Akkachi, if Amma doesn’t want me to eat, so be it”
“Nina, you know your father would be very upset if you went to bed hungry. come, get up and eat something”
“all right”. I got up from the bed
“Nina, please walk quietly, your mother can even hear the devil’s foot step”
I walked like a thief in my own house to the kitchen. I sat on top of the gas cylinder. Akkachi served me some rice and rasam in a steel bowl. I must have eaten 2 mouths and I didn’t even see my mother walking in to the kitchen
“What are you doing?” She hit my hand so hard that I dropped the steel bowl down. Rice and rasam was all over my dress. I got up from the gas cylinder to clean my dress.
“How dare you disobey me? Amma was just about to slap me and Akkachi jumped in front of me
“Chechy, don’t hit Nina, it is me, who asked her to come and eat”
“Who are you? You are just a servant in my house. Where did you take the food from? Amma was yelling
“Chechy, This is the food you served me before you went to bed and I only gave some of my food to Nina.”
That is when I noticed, Akkachi actually gave me most of her dinner.
“Oh, so now the world famous Methran Thambi’s grand daughter eats her dinner from the servant’s plate? You are pathetic Nina, Aren’t you ashamed to eat food from the servant’s bowl? Shame on you” Amma scoffed at me and went back to her room.