Morning school meant no solid food till the 10:30 AM recess. To the filmy Maa heart that my Aai had, it just seemed cruel. She couldn’t bear the thought of her three little daughters staying hungry for so long. That’s why our dabbas would be complete meals with 2 big chapatis and a hearty portion of veggies.
But that still didn’t solve her problem. So she would ensure we had a large portion of milk before going to school. Since all three of us hate plain milk (even though we are Ghatnekars) we would have, the one and only “tan ki shakti, mann ki shakti – Bournvita” mixed with it. So the only rule (besides getting up on time 😂) was to never ever leave the house without that cup of milk.
So much so that even when I’d run late and the rickshaw wala kaka would honk incessantly, she would ensure I don’t leave without having that cuppa. Even if it meant me sitting in the rickshaw enjoying my Bournvita while she had it from kaka for me being late (I’m starting to believe I was a horrible kid).
Until one fateful day we did forget. And so did she. And then the filmy maa inside her bothered her so much that she just had to do something about it. And what did she do about it? I was about to find out.
There I was, sitting in my second standard classroom, going about the day, trying not to think of my empty stomach, when I heard a familiar voice
“Excuse me Miss, is Pilu in class?”
Oh yeah! Not only was she in my class, but she was asking for “Pilu”. Since my class teacher knew my Aai, she said yes and asked what the matter was. To which she said
“She forgot to have milk. Can I take her out of the class for five minutes so that she can have it?”
And she pointed to the thermos flask in her hand. At this point, my class teacher was trying hard not to laugh. My shameless friends on the other hand, didn’t feel it necessary to hold back. Super embarrassed, I walked out of the class, stood in the corridor and had my cup of milk.
I was extremely furious but Aai was too happy to notice. She had a feeling of accomplishment. The only solace was that I wasn’t the only one. The other two would have to face this embarrassment as well!
But that day was one of the best lessons I learnt in life. From that day on, I may have forgotten to carry books but never the glass of milk. Nupuri did manage to repeat the mistake a couple of years later. But I’ll save her story for some other day!