Four feverish days with head tossing restlessly
In the hollow of a pillow
Were finally over.
I felt the gentle pangs of hunger
Rumbling in my stomach.
I slowly dragged my steps to my grandmother’s
Little house which was next to ours.
Inside the cavenous kitchen,
My grandmother was trying to light the damp wood.
She poured some kerosene on the wood
And struck the matchstick.
The fire burst out like lightning.
She placed the kettle of water on top.
The kettle was as battered ,
As encrusted as some old item
Dug out by an archaeological team.
She put both her hands on her knees
And was waiting for the water to boil.
Two o’clock was my grandfather’s tea time.
I could hear his clip-clop sandals
Slapping along the road.
Reaching home, he would sit on his huge armchair
Under the verandah and wait for his tea.
Touching my grandmother’s shoulder, I said,
‘Dadi, I am hungry.’
My dadi rose up immediately
And looking at me with raised eyebrows,
She said, ‘There is some hot rice and fried brinjals,
Would you like to eat some?’
I simply nodded my head.
Wiping the beads of sweat on my forehead,
With the back of my hand,
I said something in a low faltering tones.
In an old aluminium plate
With five or six tiny holes at the bottom,
My dadi served me the hot steaming food.
The rice had a rich flavor
And the brinjals were glistening,
Just drained from hot oil.
I ate my food ravenously
And felt freshened and invigorated.
Sixty years have elapsed since I ate my dadi’s food.
Yet, sometimes, when I am recovering
From fever or some other ailment,
That afflicts me or weakens me,
And I feel like eating something,
My dadi’s plate of food flashes to my mind
And my mouth waters beyond control.