Sweet Savory

While the neighbourhood of Shanti Nagar was still snuggling in its cozy blanket on that freezing morning of December, it was business as usual in the Gupta household. The retired bank officer Ashwin was lost deep in the Economic Times while Deepa was hanging out in her favourite place, the kitchen.

It was a typical morning in the lives of the sexagenarian couple. Ashwin mostly spent his time analyzing or rather criticizing government policies. He was nudged on and off by Deepa for being a couch potato. She, a passionate cook, always wanted to start her cookery classes but family life occupied all her time. And now she had lost the vigour to make any new beginning.

But that morning something was cooking up both in the kitchen and in Deepa’s mind. The aroma was so tantalizing that even the alluring newspaper could not hold Ashwin back. He entered the kitchen to a sight least expected, a big wok of grated carrots submerged in the goodness of milk with Deepa carefully stirring the heavenly combination.

Carrot halwa* was his favourite but ever since diabetes had set its cruel eyes upon him and arthritis had tormented Deepa’s hands, it had become a far-fetched dream. It was made only once in a blue moon and that too only during winters.

The next moment, Ashwin checked the date. Nothing appeared special about the black numbers. It was neither their anniversary nor anyone’s birthday. Seema, their only daughter’s birthday was in summer.

“What is special about today?”, he raised an eyebrow. “Nothing”, came the cold response. “Let me guess! It’s the blue moon today”, he chuckled. This time Deepa turned around, from adoring her brick red creation, towards him with a straight face. “This is not for you.” “What do you mean this is not for me? Oh! I know you are upset because I didn’t buy you that expensive food processor”, he quipped.

“My old hands no longer have the strength and that’s why I wanted to buy it. Our next door neighbour Priya, who is expecting, was craving for Carrot halwa* and I had promised her I would make some. So this morning I asked our maid to grate the carrots for some extra money.”

Surviving on a meagre pension, he scoffed, “When will you stop this social service? Didn’t you learn any lesson from that ill-fated night when Seema was snatched from us forever? Youngsters these days don’t care about emotions.”

Deepa controlling her tears looked at Seema’s photo and said, “If Seema’s car would not have been hit by the drunk driver and then left to bleed to death by the onlooking crowd, she would have been the same age as Priya today. She would have had a family of her own. I am doing this for nobody else but Seema.”

They both hugged each other consoling.

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A few months later Priya was blessed with a beautiful baby girl whom she named Seema.

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Halwa*:  Its a gelatinous soup based sweet

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Sonali Bhatnagar Prasad

Sonali Jay Bhatnagar is a work-from-home mother to a two years old. She was introduced to this wonderful coven of writers by a fellow writer. She finds recurring writing events as exercises for the brain and an art for the mind.

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