The Lunch

Like little boys of his age, Amma was his super woman. There was nothing Amma could not do, no problem was ever too big for Amma to solve (including maths!). But the place he loved spending time most with Amma was in the kitchen.

Whenever anyone asked him what he wanted to become when he grew up, he always replied he wanted to be Amma, some of the children would laugh at him but he remained undeterred, the answer never changed. As he grew older he would still give the same answer only that now he learned to justify it.

All the aunts in the family and neighbourhood and his teachers called him a gem of a boy. Appa however had a distinct irritableness towards him. “Go wear bangles and a sari and sit in the kitchen. Do you want to be an uneducated woman like your mother?”, he would shout. Every other day he would start a fight at home and end up shouting at Amma. After Appa left Amma would console him, saying that it was one of the occupational hazards of being a police officer.

He wanted to become a chef but Appa wanted him to join the police, he knew that his decision would open a pandora’s box hence he chose to play it safe and do engineering, that way he could stay close to home and Amma and not upset Appa.

He was at college when Appa called to inform him that Amma had a heart attack and didn’t survive. He reached the hospital as soon as he could, but alas! she was gone. Amma looked peaceful, beautiful like she always was. He felt his entire world crumble right in front of eyes and couldn’t stop the stream of tears, he only wanted Amma back. Appa didn’t shed a tear, he remained his rigid self. With a heavy heart he performed all the required rites. Now his world had only him and Appa.

They stayed back at a relative’s home that day and went home the next day. The entire house screamed of Amma’s absence. He knew Appa didn’t eat anything the entire day, he seemed to like only what Amma cooked so he walked into the kitchen and cooked lunch, it was a simple meal of rice, dal, curd and cabbage curry.

He placed the serving dishes on the dining table and served lunch to his father. Just like he would always do since childhood, he walked into the kitchen and waited till Appa ate, so that Amma had company while she ate, however today he had to eat alone. As he was filling the bottles with water, he heard a sob. He walked out of the kitchen to see Appa weep, that was the first time he had ever seen Appa cry. “You cook just like your Amma , you are a good son”, he told.

He walked towards Appa, hugged him and they both cried.

He could feel Amma looking over them from heaven and smiling.

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