My Father’s Lessons By Nivedita Vedurla
It takes two minutes to cook Maggi… why should I make Chappati?
Meet Meghna, just at the right stage of adolescence. When the question “why?” seems to be popping out every now and then. Why should I be doing this? Why do I have to wear traditional today? Why can’t we order a pizza? Why do I come back home early, when all my friends are still enjoying?
And just why I am being treated like this?
Her mother would often snap, “Because you are a girl.”
Meghna’s mouth would drop down and her hands would bunch in a fist. “So much for being a girl.”
There was nothing bad neither good about her. The only thing different about her was her dream to do something so that her mother won’t give such an answer.
It was holidays for senior batch commerce students while the junior batch had exams. Meghna had cut a newspaper section of “Powerful Women” to read in during her holidays. She wanted to read it alone and think about how they achieved success.
“Meghna, why don’t you help me make Chapati?” asked her mother in a voice that was loud and honey-coated.
“Oh, Mom,” she stamped her feet, placing the newspaper down and went to the kitchen. “Please, stop doing that. You know I can’t say no to such sugary calls of yours.”
Her mother laughed and handed her the dough.
Meghna picked it and started making the small balls, while her mother made flat circles out it.
“Don’t you think, it should be more round. To this side, I mean,” said Meghna peering through her mother’s shoulders.
“Do it however you can, later. I am getting late,” told her mother and ignored her comments.
Her aunt who was overhearing their discussion stepped in and she said, “Round chapati is not everyone’s cup of tea. Only a few can do it.” Meghna and her mother didn’t say anything, just stared at her boastful aunt.
Just then, Meghna’s father shouted from the hall, “Only your aunt can make soft and round ones.”
Meghna’s mother punched the dough hard, gritted her teeth. “Why don’t you learn from your aunt? Meghna” flaring her nostrils, she added, “how to make soft round ones?”
Meghna’s father laughed. “Meghna, don’t worry about it now. When the time comes, you will learn on your own.”
Meghna eyes glittered, and she asked, “so I don’t need to learn to make Chapati now?”
Meghna’s father smiled back, “you don’t! Until time wants you to do and then you will learn it anyhow.”
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