• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 05

Dinner Time

‘Eat your food,’ pleaded Shambhavi. A hard day’s work at office was transitioning into an equally hard time at home for her. Her three-year-old son, Vishruth, shook his head this way and that, in an attempt to avoid the spoonful of rice that she had got to the edge of his tightly shut lips.

‘No, Mama,’ Vishruth’s voice bordered on the edge of rebellion.

‘Please,’ Shambhavi pleaded. ‘Look, you have just half left.’ She pointed to the barely touched plate of steamed rice and drumstuck sambhar in front of him.     

‘No,’ Vishruth huffed with an air of finality. He crossed his arms across his chest and closed his eyes. Sheru, their pet langur, and Scooby the Pomeranian watched the drama from a distance.

The bay window to their left was unlatched. A cool breeze wafted in. Shambhavi looked out. It was a dark night. There was no moon or stars peeking out at them today.

The guests would arrive any time soon. The chicken pulao and the roasted lamb leg were plated and arranged on the table. The lobster was cooked. The wine and whiskey would be fished out later when the guests arrived. Hannah, the housekeeper, set the lobster elegantly on the spotless white tablecloth covering the wooden table. A wide grin stretched on her tanned face. ‘How does it all look, Madam?’


Dinner Time

‘Wonderful, Hannah,’ said Shambhavi finding nothing to fault with. ‘What would I do without you?’ she added gratefully, as Hannah retreated to the kitchen.

‘Do you want fruits then, Vishruth?’ Shambhavi continued, proffering the fruit basket laden with guavas, cherries, plums, grapes and strawberries.  

She still had to get dressed. She would slip into the green pleated skirt and white sleeveless top after she had ploughed through the gargantuan task of feeding her son and putting him to bed. But this was proving to be a much onerous task thanks to his tantrums.

‘I did not get to play today,’ Vishruth said, narrowing his eyes and looking at a spot on the tablecloth. ‘I want to play,’ he said resolutely.

Shambhavi sighed. It was too late to go out or play.

‘I want to play,’ asserted Vishruth, banging his fist on the table. Without waiting for her reply, he yanked the tablecloth with all his might. The lobster tumbled out of its dish and perched precariously at the edge of the wooden table. The wicker fruit basket rolled down and the yellow ripened guavas scattered on the brown marble floor like a couple of footballs.

Sheru scampered down from his makeshift perch on top of the wooden kitchen cabinet and began sampling the cherries. Scooby pounced on the strawberries and gobbled one. Hannah rushed into the living room, wide-eyed and flustered. Vishruth giggled, his eyes alive with all the excitement of sudden action. Hannah recovered quickly and began setting the lobster dish back in its rightful place.    

Shambhavi inhaled deeply. ‘You got this, don’t you worry,’ she muttered to herself under her breath.