The next morning I was eating steamed vegetables – beans, broccoli, beets and carrots that I had brought with me in a cooler – and ma put her hand on my bowl and pulled it down to herself with a force I did not think she possessed, and said, what are you eating? Are you eating something nice? I told her there was more but she was not interested in the vegetables.
At 92 she still manages her kitchen but has run out of ideas of what to make and seeks change. I went to her as she sat on a tall stool, hunched over her sink, barely reaching it, looking like a little gnome, and said, ma, don’t eat a heavy breakfast. I am going to brings idlis and dosas from Sagar (her favorite South Indian restaurant). Her eyes lit up. But of course, she didn’t heed my advice, ate a whole aloo kee roti instead of half as I suggested, and was also ready for the lunch when it arrived. I sat by her (she mostly eats in bed now) and kept saying, ma, don’t eat too much, you had a full breakfast, but she didn’t listen to me, and all afternoon and evening she was unwell – which mainly manifests as depression and a hankering for my father.
So, I am motivated this time to change her diet, give her variety, and also good nutrition. I have bought her an excellent juicer for mausamee and anaar, and Indian orange and pomegranate. I could sing a paean to the power of juice as well.
As an aside, she has brushed her teeth – manually – for twenty minutes by the clock each morning all her life, with the result that she still has her own teeth.