“Oh! No, not again,” I groaned.”Mom, I want something chatpata ( Hot and spicy). What about pakoras ( fried snack or fritter)?” I said.
I knew what was coming. “No. You know you cannot have that. Wait till you are well. Once the Doc. gives the green signal, I promise you I will make you all that you wish. But till then no salt and no chilly.”
A tear trickled down my cheek. Yuh! I wondered, “When will this gajar ka halwa business stop and when will I be able to have something spicy.”
It was more than a month since I was on a no salt diet. The very sight of the bland salt free food served day – in- day – out was enough to put me off. There was a time when gajar ka halwa was my favourite. My mouth used to water at the very mention of the dish, but not anymore. I went to the kitchen half – heartedly and gobbled it down silently.
The next morning
The sun shining on the window panes pierced my eyes forcing me to open them. Slowly stretching out my arms I looked at the clock. It was seven. But I was in no mood to hurry. After all it was a Sunday, the only day in the week when I was permitted to get up a little late. I lay there taking in the beauty of the day. The shadows created by the branches of the gulmohar tree ( Royal Poinciana) on the panes set my mind working. I tried to figure out what the shadows looked like. Suddenly my nostrils flared up trying to take in the smell that wafting through the air, reached me. “Ah! Something familiar,” I thought. “Now what can it be?”
Slowly getting up I tiptoed to the kitchen. There on the table lay my favourite aloo ka paratha ( Potato stuffed flat bread). I looked around. Mom was not to be seen. I walked out. The sound of running water in the bathroom caught my attention. “Taking a bath,” I thought to myself.
The smell of the parathas was inviting. I felt myself drawn to the kitchen once again. My mind told me to stop, but my heart and my taste buds pressured me to move on. Slowly as if in a trance, I went to the kitchen. The parathas beckoned me to taste them. I was tempted to do as they said.
I took a plate and removed the glass lid on the casserole. A paratha found a place on my plate. I looked at it with guilty eyes.
“Oh! What’s wrong in a having a bite or two,” I said to myself trying to crush the guilt that welled up within me.
“There’s nothing wrong,” a voice said. “But, what if you have a relapse? What if your kidneys fail?”
“Ah! Now don’t tell me that a few morsels of this stuff can lead to a relapse,” I protested.
But the voice was not ready to give up.“Don’t you remember what the Doc. said the other day? Salt is poison for you. You have to wait till such time your body befriends it, is ready to accept it with open arms,” it said.
“Will such a day ever come?” I asked with tears in my eyes.
“Sure. Just have faith in yourself, your Doc. and the Almighty,” the voice whispered.
Tears rolled down my cheek first slowly, then in quick succession.
“Now, come on don’t tell me you are a weakling,” the voice said.
“You are strong. You know there is something I’ve always liked about you.”
“Your will power,” it said.
“This is not the first time I am hearing that,” I replied.
“Oh! Is it?”
“Yes,” I said, a smile curling up my lips. I remembered Dad having uttered those very same words the previous day when I gulped down the bitter gourd soup mom had made me, without throwing a tantrum.
I put back the paratha in the casserole and walked back to my room. The guilt gone I felt light and happy.
A few months later
“You are a lucky man,” the Doctor said addressing dad. “You know when you came here with her I did not have any hopes for her.”
Dad looked at him with grateful eyes. “Thank you Doc.,” he said.
“No, not me. Thank your daughter and God,” he said. “She has been the perfect patient. Had she not co-operated with us and followed our instructions wholeheartedly we would not have been able to do anything for her. I admire her will power.”
Dad looked at me and smiled. I on the other hand gave him a sheepish grin. The “aloo ka paratha” incident still fresh in my mind.
This time we had to write a post containing,’I was tempted.’
By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.