Healthy Snacks? Yes! NO!

You may have heard this tone with particularly effervescent kindergarten teachers. “I am going to pick up the toys, who wants to help me? ” The voice is enthusiastic, slightly sing-song and most suggestive of acquiescence. At the end of this sentence, there is a scuttle among the noble children, all aiming to please. Miraculously, those who were moving to the red side of the margin see a chance to redeem themselves and everybody is happy to be helping with the toys. The classroom bursts into song: “Everybody clean up! All the children do your share!”

I confess it was something like this response I was expecting when I announced that I was leaving for the grocery store. “I am going to the grocery store! Who wants to come with me? I am going to pick up splendid snacks for our trip!”

There was no scuttling to please me, no daughter trying to get back into my good books after deploringly questioning me at the mall the previous day whether I had crossed items off my list, as I made to wander off to look at some pretty and shockingly expensive clothes in a forlorn store. None of the repentance one likes to see. The children looked (a) uninterested in going to the grocery store and (b) they practically held my hand and stopped me from buying any snacks for them.

I was going to make a quick stop at Traders Joe, that splendid store of organic fruits, vegetables, beautiful flowers, eggs from happy hens, milk from peaceful cows, yogurts using contented bacteria and p cows milk, fragrant soaps and hand-washes never tested on animals: this is the kind of shopping the husband likes. Most snacks the children like, can be traced back to this store, and yet there weren’t ready to come. I was confused and muddled.


It must’ve shown on my face for the daughter, forthright as always, said, “The thing is: you will buy healthy snacks.” She emphasized ‘healthy’ in a rather distasteful tone of voice and continued, “Then, you’ll get mad at us when we stop somewhere to buy something we can eat. Of course, you won’t eat it too because though it is healthy, it is still a snack right? Then you’ll tell us all about starving children and how they would love to have healthy snacks and then we all feel guilty and can’t completely enjoy the stuff we buy with Appa on the way. So, just don’t buy snacks okay? We’ll go with Appa tomorrow to Traders Joe and buy something for ourselves.”

I was aghast and turned to the husband for support only to catch him casting admiring looks at her. “Wow! I wish I was that brave!” he tried not to say.

The husband can be relied upon to be convinced by the children. “But Appa…it is organic. See?” they say as they show him chips, cakes and ice-creams, and he melts, along with that chocolate mousse they are handing him. As soon as they get home, the children disappear upstairs, secure in their knowledge that their father blessed their choice, while I gasp at the contents.

Well, say what you will: I am going to take that packet of baby carrots for myself.

The Dosa God’s Warning

It was a lovely afternoon as we sniffed the fresh rain-scented air mingling with the Eucalyptus tree’s heady smells. We were headed to a regional park about an hour’s drive away from where we lived for a birthday party. Our friends, had wisely selected a Regional Park Reserve for the party, so there would be plenty of fresh air and nature while enjoying each other’s company. I could only admire their choice, for the day was beautiful and this park was one we had never been to. Lush green forests rose on all sides, and every time we peeked out a curve, we could see the glistening blue waters of the bay in the distance.

Now, every year, when January rolls in with the fog, rain and murky resolutions, we tell ourselves that we must spend more time outdoors on hikes and trips. The reason we don’t keep that up diligently all year-long is so that we can use that as a resolution when January rolls along again. I am sure it will be a tad tiring to have to look for new resolutions every year, wouldn’t you agree?

As the car climbed the hills, I stuck my head out wistfully and sighed, saying the things that nature taps me into saying each time: How I love fresh air, lucky that we live so close to mountains and forests, blessed with the ability to enjoy these things in cheer and spirit etc. I went a step further this time and said a bit critically, maybe, that we really should stop sitting home and eating dosas and get out more often. I should have known that one does not insult a perfect dosa without having one’s nose broken. The Dosa Gods are benevolent, but they will not let you go scot-free would they?

The daughter, meanwhile, was bristling with the injustice of it all. “We didn’t have dosa! You made me eat carrots.”

“Which I see you did not.” I added smartly, and she chuckled to herself.

We spent some time looking for the right area, because the park was large, and cellphone reception was spotty. It was the daughter who spotted it first. On the side of the road, by some yellow fox flowers, and dark green ferns, was a gleaming van. “Amma look! You need not stay home and eat dosa. There is a dosa van right here!”

I felt my broken nose where it was snubbed and it felt raw. You could have knocked me out with a feather. There was a dosa van indeed. What’s more? It was for my friend’s party. If that was not a Dosa God’s warning, I don’t know what is. But the Dosa Gods are good: we were in time to enjoy some excellent varieties of Dosa with good people. The simple dosa rose in reverence in my eyes.

The Dosa God's Warning

The Dosa God’s Warning

As we took a walk back to our car, what do you think I saw? Wild carrots growing on the path. I stopped to show them to the daughter. She was as excited as I was. I had never shown her carrot plants before and I glowed with her as we admired the beautiful carrot leaves. We saw loads of ants attacking the wild carrots. Never one to waste an opp. when I see one, I told her about all the excellent properties of carrots. A mellow cheese dosa in her stomach made her receptive to the unsung carrot I guess, for she was an attentive audience.

I thought sagely said that the day was indeed one of sobering food thoughts. Dosas for me and carrots for her.

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