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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Friday, December 3, 2010

Helping Grandma (Short Story)

“We want pizza, we want pizza,” children were screaming and jumping around. Grandma was on the verge of losing this battle of Pizza Vs PuranPoli. For quite some time, she was trying to convince the children to have PuranPoli's instead of Pizza.

“Don't start that 'our culture - their culture' thing again, Grandma,” the eldest of them, Neha said.

“Yes, we don't want to try anything just because it's our traditional food,” added Siddharth.

“You are confusing issues, kids,” Grandma was struggling hard, “I am just asking you to try this item once. Not because of tradition, but for a change, it's worth trying!”

“But we want pizza, we want pizza,” the youngest one, Atharv found this shouting part most interesting.

“Look kids, I am not saying pizza is bad or puranpoli is better. I am just saying that you children should taste different foods. Why not try something which is really yummy and traditional, too?” Grandma's diplomacy!

“But we have never tried that before. How could we like it?” asked Neha.

“That's exactly my point!” Grandma exclaimed, “If you don't try it, how will you like it?”

“But we want pizza, we want pizza,” Atharv continued.

“Shut up, Atharv,” Neha said, “Grandma has a point.”

“Hmm, we should give it a try, what say?” Siddharth added. Grandma grinned.

“Grandma, give us a moment. Siddharth, Atharv, come, let's decide!” Neha took the lead.

Grandma's grin expanded. Looking at her grandchildren having serious discussion, she slipped into fond memories of various delicacies she used to have. She remembered how all relatives and family-friends used to appreciate her cooking. Grandpa used to call her 'Annapurna' (meaning bestower of food). Throughout the year, the whole family used to celebrate different festivals through cooking delicious food items. Any good news or happenings were communicated through different types of sweets. Any homely parties and celebrations were incomplete without homemade spicy and tasty meal. On any occasion...

“We want poli, we want poli.” Grandma looked at the group. The children were approaching her, with Atharv shouting again, this time for poli, not pizza.

“Grandma,” Siddharth said, “we all have decided to try puranpoli's today. You win!”

“Hurray,” Grandma joined the screaming group. This was the best part - one wins, all celebrate!

“What's happening?” came in Swati (Neha and Atharv's mom). Everybody stopped and looked at Grandma.

“Oh Swati, good that you are here. I won the bet! You owe me a treat now,” said Grandma.

The children looked at each other. This was surprise for them. What bet? What treat?

“So you could convince them on puranpoli's? I can't believe it!” Swati exclaimed.

“So that was a part of your bet, huh?” Siddharth and Neha turned to Grandma, who was grinning at her win.

“We want poli, we want poli,” Atharv continued.

“See, I win! I win!” Grandma was really happy.

“Ok, ok, you win. But what next? Who's going to prepare puranpoli's?” Swati mentioned the logical part first.

There was silence for a few moments. Then Grandma said, “I completely forgot about that. I used to prepare 100 poli's in a day. But can't prepare so many of them now.”

“Nor do I,” Swati confessed, “I am not so good at that.”

“Now what?” Siddharth and Neha were puzzled.

“We want poli, we want poli,” Atharv continued.

“Grandma, this is not fair,” Neha said, “you won the bet with mom. Now serve us poli's or accept you lose!”

“Wow, that's a turning point!” Swati exclaimed.

“Wait, wait,” Grandma was not easily defeated, “let me try something.”

The children and Swati waited while Grandma spoke on the phone.

“Hello, Shalini?”

“Yes, how are you, Nalini?”

“I'm fine, but not very fine. Need your help.”

“Why, what happened? Everything ok?”

“Don't worry, not that serious. Actually, I won a bet with my daughter-in-law, but seems to lose it now,” and she narrated what happened in the house.

“Ohh, ha ha ha,” came the reply, “you are so funny, Nalini.”

“Come on, don't make fun of me now. I need your help.”

“Ok, ok. I had similar situation last week and didn't know what to do. But somehow I could get the solution.”

“And what's that?”



“Khawakee, that's the solution.”

“You are making fun of me, ain't you? Please help me seriously.”

“Yes, I am serious. I got this from somewhere last week. Khawakee delivers fresh puranpoli's at your doorstep.”

“Really? Like they deliver pizza?”

“Absolutely! And it's yummy, tasty, and homely!”

“Can't believe it! The kids would be amused. Give me their contact number.”

When Grandma told the children that she has ordered puranpoli's on the phone, they didn't believe her. Not even Swati!

“How's that possible?” asked Neha, “that's not pizza, Grandma.”

“Wait and watch,” Grandma said.

“Your friend must have joked with you,” Swati guessed.

“Just wait and watch.”

“We want poli, we want poli,” Atharv was at his best. Grandma drew him closer and said, “Just wait for some time, dear!”

Ding-Dong! The bell rang and everybody ran to the door. Swati couldn't believe her eyes. She was holding neatly packed, fresh puranpoli's and the children were jumping around her to get their share.

Grandma closed the door behind her, stared at her happy family, remembered her good old days, and muttered, “Thanks, Khawakee!”


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