Arjun and Saket were playing cricket. Mishra aunty called them and said, ‘Arjun, Saket, It is so hot. Why are you playing cricket now?’
Arjun looked at her and said, ‘Dadi, its our vacations now and we are getting bored at home’
‘But beta, it is hot now, you will fall sick’, said Mishra aunty.
The boys kept playing.
After some time Mishra aunty called them, Saket, Arjun come, I have made some shikanji, It is so refreshing’.
The boys could not resist the cool drink and ran towards Dadi’s home
And while they munched on some biscuits and had some cool shikanji, Dadi was busy. She kept a mango in the centre of some funny apparatus which had a wooden plank with a knife attached to it. The plank had a depression in the centre. Dadi kept a mango in the depression and brought the knife down. Cutting the mango into two neat halves. Then she kept each half and then bisected them again.
‘What are you doing, dadi’, asked Saket
‘Cutting mangoes’, told Dadi simply.
‘Yes’, but for what’, asked Saket
‘For pickles. After I cut them, I will apply some salt and some haldi and keep it in the sun for some time’, said Dadi
‘Arjun, will you help me in cutting these mangoes’, said she
‘Me, why?? I am not a girl’, said he.
‘And what do you mean by that’, Dadi asked
‘Only girls do this work. I mean all this kitchen work’, said he.
‘And what are boys supposed to do?’, asked Dadi.
‘Umm, drive cars, go to office….’said Arjun
‘Why then does you mom drive a car and go to office’, said dadi, And I have seen your father cooking sometimes’.
‘Oh that is when mom is sick or too busy’, said he.
‘Oh then why does Sanjiv Kapoor become a chef, after all cooking is a girl’s job’, retorted Dadi
All this was confusing Arjun. He had just assumed that cooking was a girl’s domain and had never thought more than that.
‘Beta, one should know or at least try to know everything. There is nothing as boys work and girls work’, said dadi.
Saket meanwhile was trying his hand in cutting mangoes. He squealed in delight as one piece flew and fell far away. After a few strokes but he was cutting fine.
Arjun’s hand itched to try tha apparatus once. But he felt shy. finally curiosity took over and he asked, ‘May I try it once’.
In no time both boys were taking turns and having a good time.
Dadi smiled. She had managed to put some sense in Arjun and whats more a full bag of mangoes had been cut for making pickle. Her work had been simplified.
Mummy hurried to make dinner, she had been late from office and she was sure Arjun must be famished. As such she felt guilty on leaving him alone the full day and if she didn’t give him food at right times she felt even more guilty.
Arjun came into the kitchen.
‘Wait son, just 15 more minutes and I will serve you dinner’, said she
‘No mama, it is alright, I came to help you. Do you need help in cutting vegetables??’, he asked
His mom meanwhile stared at him in shock.