‘Eeks lauki’, screamed Ajay.
I let out a sigh. I admit I am no master chef but I do try to cook a variety of cuisines err Indian, Chinese and Italian. I am appreciated by everyone except my family. And the worst of them is my teenage son Ajay. He has always been a fussy eater but more so since he stepped into teenage.
Where is the energy left to cook after housework, swimming classes of the kids, dance class, piano recitals of the kids. Still I try to do my best and yet…….
‘It is good for health’, I said
‘Ma, I can’t eat this, make me some pasta’, he said
“I won’t, didn’t you have it yesterday and day before too. That is enough maida (APF) to clog your intestines’, I said.
‘Pasta has semolina too’, he said
‘NO’, I said
He muttered some expletives under the breath. Sat down and ate, stuffed some food inside his mouth and before we had even gulped a mouthful, he was up and gone.
Me and Sujay looked at each other. Nidhi my 7-year-old started whining next, ‘this is not tasty’.
‘Eat or else you won’t get any ice cream’, I screamed. The rest of the meal was spent in peace.
Later Sujoy and me brainstormed over how to make Ajay eat. But how. How to make him understand that home food was good. It was not necessary to eat junk every day etc.
I just hoped for a miracle.
Some days later Ajay came with a long face. ‘What happened’, I asked.
‘Avi has appendicitis, Ma, what is that and why does it happen?’
‘I don’t know the exact reason but very often it is because of eating habits and….’
‘You need a reason to preach’, he said and left
I was left in shock.
‘Why didn’t you make bhindi?’, he asked at dinner time.
But we had bhindi yesterday’, I replied
‘So what’, he said. The only two vegetables Ajay eats is bhindi and aloo. And I was sick of both.
‘Alright. You know some basic cooking, so go ahead and make some bhindi sabji, we will wait till you prepare it’.
All three looked at me. Ajay grinned and said ‘OK now just watch Chef Ajay cook up a delightful bhindi’ and left.
I did not assist him, though I watched from the dining place.
He chopped onions, he chopped tomatoes, he chopped bhindi. All was fine until he fried the bhindis a bit and then….added water to it to cook. Not just a little but a lot more.
I knew what the result would be. But I kept mum.
‘Ahaa’, he said, ‘now who will like to taste it’, bringing the prepared dish to the table.
‘Me’, I said and took some.
Sujoy was about to refuse but I gave such a look that he took some too. Nidhi refused saying she was happy with karela.
Last Ajay took , had a spoonful and spat it out. Meanwhile I was eating with a blank expression.
‘How can you eat this?’, he asked.
‘I can because my son has cooked it. He has put in his love and effort into it, so….’
He lowered his eyes and took some karelas too.
Me and Sujoy smiled at each other. For some days there would be peace at least. After that…huh…some other measure would be taken.