Thank you Gulabjamun!!

It was an ordinary Tuesday, nothing special about it this time.

Recently I have started volunteering in the Hindu Temple kitchen on Tuesdays whenever I am free in the evenings. Most of my volunteering work includes either helping in the kitchen or standing behind the food counter serving food to the devotees who very patiently line up waiting for their turn. So that Tuesday I was serving food and my task was to serve pooris and rotis.

Besides enjoying the higher benefits of volunteering like feeling humble, good, useful and purposeful I also enjoy seeing how people of different ages choose their food based on their liking, preferences and moods. It’s fun to observe people, specially children.

Almost all of the kids who come to the temple invariably choose pooris over chapatis. I love when their eyes twinkle at the sight of pooris, or small cubes of paneer in a curry or at the trays of sweets, laddoos seem to be the most favourite among the kids.

So yeah coming back to that Tuesday being ordinary till it stopped being one! From the line up emerged a little boy about 6-7 years old, head full of wavy hair, olive skin, bright eyes behind those glasses that looked bigger than his little round face. He showed more serious demeanour than most kids his age. Stood in front of me with his plate. Though I know that most kids chose pooris, I always ask them what they would like to eat.

When I asked the kid ‘poori’ or ‘roti’ his quick reply to my surprise was “No Poori, Poori is fried, I want roti.” I smiled and said, “Roti it is!” The little boy trotted away with two rotis on his plate.

I was amazed at the little boy’s self control and choices, at his being health conscious. But it also made me think of carefree childhood that every child should have and be able to enjoy a fried treat every now and then. But well it was not my place to ask the child about his choices.

A few moments later when the crowd had lightened, I got my break to get dinner for myself. When I looked around the rows of tables and chairs to sit, I saw the same kid waving at me. So I headed toward him, was just about to sit right across him. I rested my plate on the table and just then the same bright boy asked me, “Is it possible to get a bowl of Gulabjamun?” I had a bright smile on my face!!
I immediately heard his mother chiding him for being so upfront in asking for food instead of going himself to get it. I explained that it will be my pleasure to get him the sweet as I was about to get some for myself. I chuckled when I grabbed two small bowls of gulabjamun.

We started talkin and eating together. I told him, “By the way , do you know Gulabjamuns are fried?” To my question his quick reply was, “ Yes I know, but they are dipped in this sweet water and I can have them with a spoon, the oil from them doesn’t get on my hands!” I started roaring in laughter and he said “ Fried food is fun to eat when I don’t have to touch it!”

Before cutting my Gulabjamun with my spoon, I folded my hands as if in prayer and said to that bowl of Gulabjamun “Thank you” ! Thank you for keeping the childhood alive in children and in grown ups too !! Thank you for not being that food which can make a little boy’s hands oily. 😃

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