I show her a badam.
She smiles. 7 front teeth.
‘No,’ goes her little head.
I put it in my mouth and chew slowly. Deliberately.
I show her some chewed stuff on my tongue.
She looks. A bit intrigued.
She wants, I hope.
She keeps looking.
I take out some from my mouth and quickly put it in her mouth with my finger.
Ummm. New taste. Funny texture.
Nah! I don’t want. She uses her fingers to clean her tongue of almond goo.
I lean forward and put her fingers in my mouth. Lick them clean.
I don’t want any chewed badam on the sofa. Or my skirt.
We were in the car, evening traffic in Kalkaji. I saw the moon, 3 days short of full moon. Being publicised on TV these days as closest to the earth than it will ever be again in our lifetime. It was a large luminous yellow.
Aliza said, “Mom, when u go up the next time, get the moon for me.” Mama, jab aap agli baar upar jaaoge, mere liye chanda le kar aana.
I think she was imagining me flying on my work trips.
A little while later, while I was still recovering from the warm flush of maternal pride, she seemed to realise that it may not be possible to get the moon for her.
“But the moon is with me anyway,” she said. “Look, it is following me around. I am going to the shop to buy a toffee and it is following me all the way.
The moon wants a toffee too.”