The Battle of a lunch box.
Being Mother !
“Mother is a sun. Mother is an Ocean.
Mother is a spring breeze.
Mother is a sunflower.”
These words are guidance of my mentor Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and his wife Ms. Kaneko Ikeda in their book “Happiness begins at Home”, based on modern day parenting. A mother is a sunshine that spreads her light across the home and brings a smile on the faces of all, especially children. A mother is an epitome of boundless love and compassion. Children reside in the heart of a mother. A mother holds up the virtues of empathy and patience while children mischievous like monkeys run around the house testing a mother’s patience and calm.
I am going to share with you all a true life incident involving the mischief of not the children but of monkeys.
It happened some four years ago, when both my son and my sister in law’s daughter Angela were a quarter less than a dozen year old. Angela was running a high fever since a week and her pediatrician recommended some tests. Angela was diagnosed with an infection of the thoracic cavity and as the high fever still persisted, she was required to be admitted to the hospital.
Bags were packed, of course for my dear little niece and my not so little sister in law. The doctor suspected Angela to remain under observation for over a week. Some more bags were added to the baggage containing toys, books and colours. Monday morning, Angela and family arrived, admitted and settled comfortably in one of the rooms of the suburban hospital. In a span of two days Angela started showing improvement, to the relief of the entire family including the extended one. But all this while she had lost her appetite, hardly eating anything since the day she arrived at the hospital.
The only child, a choosy eater, she had been pampered and never developed healthy eating habits. The food provided by the hospital facility did not appease our little princess. The doctor again advised her and the parents to eat as she had grown week over the weak. The discharge from the hospital would be possible once she started eating some solid food. In pitched Nanima, who took on over herself the responsibility to cook delicious favorite recipes for her granddaughter. This would mean a treat for the parents as well who were sustaining on the canteen food. Nanima had to carry the food all the way to the hospital which stood some forty kilometers from our house. It was on the far end of the city, but Nanima had an iron like determination.
Day one, the Lunch box meal started with low calorie dal chawal and Angela’s favorite sabzi. Angela smiled while her eyes shone bright both at the prospect of meeting Nani and eating home cooked delicious food after a span of ten days. Nani promised Angela to visit her again the next day loaded with lunch basket. It became an everyday affair.
She was exhausted, my mother in law, of the journey, yet beamed with satisfaction and happiness that her daughter’s daughter had now started eating. Looking at her tired face, I pitched in and proposed to carry the lunch basket the next day. This would give her rest for one full day. She agreed. It was Tuesday morning when I woke up a bit early than usual to cook sumptuous meal for my niece. An aroma of rajma and basmati rice filled my home. After a quick breakfast, I started my journey by metro train. Travelling by metro is my favorite mode of travel in the busy city Delhi. I got down at the last metro station on my route and was walking along the corridor. I was carrying the delicious lunch in a jute bag in my right hand while I held my handbag with my left hand. The roofs on both sides of the corridor were half open to allow sunlight and air. The corridor was deserted and the lone traveler was none other than me. Suddenly from the roof a monkey jumped in front of me. A big fat oversized monkey with read ears and a matching butt. I gasped. He attacked. The monkey snatched my jute bag. I tugged hard and did not give in. He tugged hard, I tugged harder. A passing thought in my mind advised me to give away the bag, which buy now had started to give away strands of jute. My rational mind shouted immediately not to give up the struggle, as I could not afford to lose the most favorite dish of my darling angel. I tugged harder, surprised to find that my throat could not make an attempt to shout. It was as if I had lost my voice. But my inner voice implored me to keep fighting – the battle of lunch box. With every tug, I imagined Angela’s face while the monkey stared at my stubbornness.
Help arrived in the form of two young men, who too were crossing the corridor from the opposite end. They shouted at the monkey, who sensing people as danger suddenly released the grip of the jute bag and climbed the roof top. I heaved a sigh of relief as the lunch was saved for my dear little niece and now I had a story to narrate while I babysat her during the day. The gleam in her eyes upon hearing me fight the battle of lunch box is one of the prized possessions of my heart!!