I wasn’t hungry, but I wanted to win.
I wanted to show Amma that I won’t go hungry just because she didn’t cook anything. Those days of her trying to manipulate me with food were long gone. I wanted her to know that. I got up and went to the kitchen to see what I could cook.
There was bread.
Too cheap. I thought
I wanted a king’s feast. Nothing less than that.
What could I make? I opened all the containers to see what I could make.
It didn’t take too long for me to make my choices.
It didn’t take too long to cook rice, rasam, payaru thoran, urulakkizhanggu mezhukkuparattii and unakkameen chammanthi.
The last one being my mother`s favourite, I decided to make it purposely.
Amma must have got the smell of me frying the salted fish, because she came out to see what I was up to.
I ignored her and continued to cook.
She stood by the door and watched me.
Go on watching mother, the more you push me, the stronger I get. I spoke in my head.
I drained the fish from the oil and kept it aside to cool.
I sliced few pieces of onion and started pounding the onion and green chillies using the pestle and mortar.
`You cut the onion too big, you won`t be able to pound it well`Amma offered valuable advice.
I knew Physics better than her.
The bigger the slices of onion, more you need to pound.
I was in a mood to make as much din as I can. There is nothing more satisfying than to keep hitting the onion with the pestle and watch it getting smashed.
Instead of scraping the coconut, I wanted to cut few chunks of coconut pieces. Amma must have understood what I was going to do.
“Give it to me. If you are so lazy to scrape the coconut, I will scrape it for you”She tried to snatch the coconut from my hand.
“Don’t” I hissed
“Don’t you dare interfere when I cook.”
“Give it to me Nina, oru panikku nooru pani undakkum”
“Didn’t you understand what I just told you? Leave me alone”
“You are stupid, do you know that?”
“Of course. That is why I passed MBBS 1 year! Even George’s smart daughter had to repeat 1st year!”
“Passing first year is not everything Nina”
“Of course not. Right now being stupid is everything ma and I am the best stupid you will ever find”
“I am not talking to you” Amma walked away.
“Good choice ma” I replied
I sat on the floor and continued to pound the green chilli, onion, coconut mix. I knew Amma was right.. that it takes an awfully long time to pound big pieces of coconut. My hands were aching.
There is no limit to stupidity anyway and I knew I would have won the first prize for the stupidest person on planet earth.
I took the corning dinner plate from the shelf( no steel plate for the king, sorry queen), served myself some rice and rasam and all the other side dishes and went to sit on my bed to eat.
I thought I would enjoy eating such a wonderful meal.
I didn`t want to, but my head didn`t listen, it turned slowly and looked at the clock.10.15pm.
My little sister was out somewhere.
I knew who else would be out in the streets at this hour
I knew my sister was naive and that she would be no match to those experienced in getting what they want.
I remembered reading somewhere how the girls from metros end up in the red light streets of Bombay.
I thought of going out and looking for my sister.
But I myself was scared. Besides where was I going to go and look for her? I had no clue where she went.
I had to call Arjun. I got up quickly to wash my hand. Then I remembered, the phone booth would have closed by 10 pm.
Amma was still her room.
I wondered if she was even concerned that her daughter is not back home.
I honestly wanted to just kill her. At least it would set my sisters free from her evil clutches.
I looked at my plate full of food.
One can cook a king`s feast.
But one must be lucky to eat a king`s feast.
I simply wasn`t lucky.
I threw the rest of my food in the rubbish bin.
I went back and lay down on my bed.
A little while later, I saw Amma going to the kitchen and taking the food I cooked.
She was more luckier than I was.
She ate the food, tidied up the kitchen, turned off the light and went back to her room. I waited for some more time before I got up and slowly opened the latch. At least my sister can open the door from outside.
Soon it was 11pm and I was sure I will be seeing my sisters photo in the Children missing program on Doordarshan.
I wondered if I had a recent photo of my sister. DD might want a passport size photo. Where was I going to get my sister`s photo?
I had no idea. I thought of going to Amma and ask her if she had any of Liza`s passport size photo?
Nah, why would she keep Liza`s photos?
I heard an auto stop in front of our house and I got up quickly and opened the main door. I saw my sister walking up the steps.
`What are you staring at me for?“ She asked
`Move`She ordered, as she reached the top of the stairs.
`Did you eat something?`I asked her
If she didn`t, I wanted to tell her that there is rice and curry in the kitchen.
`Get lost Nina, Don`t act goody good two shoes. I know you and I am not in a mood to talk to you`
I watched my sister going to her room and slamming the door shut. At 11.30 in the night, even a whisper can be heard outside and I wondered what my land lord would be thinking of us.
I closed the main door gently and locked.
I hated everyone.
I hated Amma
I hated Appa
I hated Maria
I hated Liza
and I hated Arjun. That idiot didn`t even bother to come and see me today.
I knew what I was going to do.
I got up early in the morning and took the first bus back to my college, knowing very well that Arjun would be coming home in the morning to pick me up.
I never knew why I do things the way I do.
But I do it irrespective of the consequences.