I try to be home when my daughter Khyati (10years) returns from school. I consider it a golden opportunity to hear about the fresh and non exaggerated version of the day’s events. One day she returned with a troubled expression. I was instantly at her side quizzing her.
Me: What happened honey? Why do you look drained?
Khyati: Mamma, I have been thinking of sharing this with you for a long time but kept forgetting. There is a boy called Jay in our class. He is short and sweet and eats his lunch with us every day.
Me: So, what is worrying you?
Khyati: I don’t know how to say this but he only brings junk and packaged food in his lunch box. Either it is bhel, biscuits, Khakhra or chips. He never has freshly cooked home meal with him.
Me: Why? Does he like packaged food?
Khyati: No, Mamma. His mother does not wake up in the mornings to prepare his lunch so, his father hands over the packets to him.
Me: I see. It happens some time Beta. She must have been tired or busy.
Khyati: Naah, she is simply lazy. I have been observing him for the past whole month. He keeps eyeing at our lunch boxes. But no one shares with him because he has nothing interesting to offer in exchange. Today, his bhel also spilled coz someone pushed him.
Me: Then you should have offered him something from your lunch box.
Khyati: Yes, I did. But I feel pity for him.
I secretly beamed with pride that my daughter is growing up to be a kind and caring person. My very thought was speculation about the mother in question? Are the present generation mothers so careless and sluggish that providing a meal to the child is a challenge for them? Recently, I had overheard a few young mothers that they cannot differentiate between moong, tuar and masoor dals. They mostly refer to them by colors like -murky green, emoticon yellow or tawny brown. I had giggled to myself as I wondered, “What if some day they were asked to identify split moong dal, chana dal, harbhara dal and tuar dal.” Then they would turn into emoticons themselves. I was certain that Jay’s mother too belonged to the emoticon generation. Khyati broke my reverie.
Khyati: Mamma, would you please give me some extra roti-subzi tomorrow?
Me: Okay, I will pack some for Jay also. Now don’t worry.
Khyati: Thank you mamma. I will tell Jay that you will send garam-garam food for him daily.
Before I could reason with her that my offer was for only a day, Khyati gave me a tight hug rendering me speechless. Next day, I packed an extra paratha in her lunch box. I felt very pleased with myself. I was sure that Jay would relate the incident to her parents making then ashamed of their doings. This routine continued for a week. Khyati informed me that Jay was very happy and content.
Following week, I went for the parents teachers meeting and overheard a dialogue stating that Jay’s mother is suffering from a terminal cancer and is undergoing a severe chemotherapy schedule.
I left the school premises with tears in my eyes.
My teenage son sounded a little judgmental on the phone.
Dhruv: Mom, you and papa work so hard all day but do you think we have made enough progress in our business? I mean I see so many people doing only half of what you do and still they have been able to reach the pinnacle of success. 20 years is a long time Mom, we are still struggling. Something is not right.
I got a bit offended but maintained my calm and recounted all our monetary achievements to him. At 19, his theory of success was financial flourish so I made it a point to enlighten him. I gave him a brief about our expansions and business diversification so far. I heard him breathing softly as he processed the information in his BBA head.
Dhruv: But Mom, you should understand that there still more scope. You both are so samadhaani that I don’t know how but you manage to stay blissfully happy in every situation. We have so much to do.. look at the mounting competition!
I smiled to myself, I could not recall a word that he said after the phrase-“samadhaani”.