MIDWAY: Making choices

Swagat Raj Pandey

I am never allowed to have my meals alone. Most of the time, as far as possible, my mom stays with me reading out her poems while I eat. The purpose of her stay is just to ensure that I eat everything that has been placed on my plate. Actually, I don’t like eating which is one of the prime reasons for my skinny physique. Sometimes, I wonder about how easy life would have been if only I didn’t have to sit down and gobble up the pile on my plate everyday.

My mom often says that from childhood it has always been difficult to make me eat

a balanced diet. When I was small I disliked green vegetables so much that I vomited deliberately every time I ate them.

That resulted in the deterioration of my eyesight and hence, I wear these thick ugly glasses, which have become an integral part of my life.

I am never told what dishes are cooked nor ever asked what I would like to have. And that is because I don’t know my favourite food. My mom often scolds me as I fail to identify the taste of the vegetables I eat.

Yeah! It sure is and it happens quite a lot of times.

I often end up complimenting my mom on the dish that’s not been cooked that day. Even though it’s me who buys all the vegetables for our home, mom never talks about the dish until I have finished taking my meal.

Last week I liked one of the dishes very much. It tasted great and it was really delicious. I swear my mom cooks extremely well.

I asked for some more all the while complementing on her culinary skills: “Aamu, give me some more pharsi.” She complied without a word. But, after eating when I said, “Aamu, the pumpkin tasted great” she answered with a hearty laugh that she didn’t cook pumpkin that day and it was the gourd I ate with such delight. And to top it all, had I been told that it was what it was, I wouldn’t have tasted it in the first place!

It’s not that I don’t have any senses or my taste buds are out of order. To me and to most of others, everything seems to be perfectly alright. However, this nature of mine is not confined to eating alone.

To be frank, I don’t think I have a taste for anything. You wouldn’t believe, but I always have the haircut that the barber wants me to have. I don’t go shopping, it’s my father who buys all my dresses and shoes, and I wear whatever he brings for me.

Likewise other facets of my life have a similar cycle. I don’t know whether this attitude

of mine is good or bad. However, even for this I don’t have any choices.