Children

Alien Paratha and Vampire Curry

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Ten-year-old Chikki fainted during the school assembly, one day. Her mother rushed to school. When she reached, she saw Chikki in the medical room sipping an orange-coloured soft drink. Her worried mother drove her to the hospital. Chikki seemed fine — after all, she had just had her favourite soft drink just then! Yes, you guessed it right. Chikki loved samosas and soft drinks but hated vegetables.

The doctor peered at Chikki while checking her pulse.

“Too pale. Definitely anaemic,” he declared after examining her eyes and nails. “You need to eat vegetables, lots of them,” he said while prescribing an iron tonic.

World of words

On their way home, mother felt desperate. As much as Chikki hated vegetables, she loved books — especially those with monsters and ghouls, vampires and zombies, magic and myth. So, every time when a tired mother returned from office, Veni, their maid, would complain.

“Chikki didn’t eat her tiffin,” she would say assuming a serious tone. And before mother could say something, Chikki would shout from her bedroom, “Your bhindi was too slimy. I couldn’t eat it,” before returning to the imaginary world in her current novel.

After the fainting incident, her mother was determined to get her to eat vegetables.

“The drumsticks are dumbsticks. So bland!” Chikki remarked, before mother could ask her why she didn’t touch the drumstick sambar. Undaunted, mother made a curry out of carrots on another day.

“Your carrot curry was too sweet,” said Chikki making a yucky face. Unfazed, mother tried out cabbage.

“Sorry, mom. I hate cabbage and so it went into the garbage,” Chikki said with a slight regret.

Though a bit disappointed, mother bought beans and cauliflower.

“The bean is mean and the cauli, its so silly, it calls itself a flower when it is another tasteless veggie. If only my tiffin was as interesting as this book, ” Chikki remarked casually while looking at the novel she held in her hand.

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

The next evening, Veni felt bad as she had nothing to complain about. Chikki’s tiffin box was empty. But there was a small note which she handed to Chikki’s mother. “Mom,” it read. “Thanks for the alien paratha and vampire curry. I loved the eerie stuff!”

Mother smiled — that morning, she had blanched some leaves of spinach and grinded them into a paste before adding it to the flour to make green parathas. Then, she made a tasty beetroot curry. She just stuck a note on top of the tiffin: “Chikki, try the new alien paratha and vampire curry. It took me a lot of effort!”

And that is how mother learnt to give new names to curries and Chikki started eating vegetables. After all, the way to a child’s stomach is through her mind!


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:51:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/alien-paratha-and-vampire-curry/article37500601.ece

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