This afternoon, my mother plonked at my table a shiny salver full of dried dates and a blunt nutcracker. As I gawked at her in surprise, she said,
“Cut these into thin strips. ”
I looked at the salver. There were about a hundred dried dates, which I had to manually julienne, with the help of an ancient nutcracker. This was something even Roadies could include in their menu.
“I’m not professionally trained. It’s…”I threw, hoping she’d turn lenient somehow.
“I do so much of work all day. It gets tough when nobody helps. “She said. This was surprising, because my mother doesn’t do even THAT much work. She spends most of her time googling anti-aging beauty creams on flipkart. For a few weeks, she has been fretting about dark circles.
Anyway, I picked up the nutcracker and checked its sharpness. I put my little finger between its jaws and pressed the handles. In Ramleela, the same procedure chops Deepika Padukone’s finger. But I was lucky.
“Where did you get this thing from? “I asked my mother.
“I brought it with the dowry. “She said. Which meant it was at least twenty years old.
Anyway, I picked up a piece and began to cut it. My mother got on her scooty and zoomed away. I sat there, sculpting the dates into long, thin strips, wondering if Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Ammendment Act of 2016 includes 17 year olds in the definition of a child.
Two decades later, I was still cutting dates, a mountain of seeds piled up on the table, and my metacarpals and phalanges stiff with pain. In my ears, Arnab Goswami had already finished two of his episodes, which meant 90 minutes of raucous monologue with a few minutes of people asking permissions to speak. I should have rather played that Hot Aunty Seducing Cablewallah thing.
Anyway, my mother returned from her voyage and she was disappointed to see me not finished yet. But she remained calm.
When there were exactly 4 dates left in the tray, she said,
“Thanks! I’ll take up from here. ”
I left the chair and went in to apply ice-packs to my hands.