She has prepared herself for her meal. Always a fussy eater, everything has to be just right. On her plate, she has some dal, carrots-and-peas, a roti, and two pieces of Tinda that she reluctantly allowed me to serve her. An unopened bottle of Yakult lies next to the plate. She will only open it once she's had a few bites of the food.
I observe how she helps herself to a little bit of Ketchup, without which her meal isn't complete. Unfortunately, being the type who cannot have a meal without ketchup myself, I can scarcely try and forbid this little addition to her food.
She notices that two peas have rolled into the ketchup and wrinkles her nose in disdain. As with so many kids, she can't stand it when one item touches the other item. Apparently, it changes the taste of both irreparably. She uses her tiny little finger to roll the errant peas back into their rightful place on the other side of the plate.
She then carefully takes her vegetables and places them in the very center of her roti; She rolls the roti up to make her ''Roti Roll'' - this magically transforms the most undesirable of meals into something almost palatable.
I smile indulgently as she carefully dips her roti roll into her Dal.
She then proceeds to dip it into the ketchup.
And my smile disappears when I see that she's now dipping it into...a bowl of Kheer!
'Peanut.' I cry '...What are you doing?'
She freezes and looks at me, unable to figure out what the fuss is all about. 'What?'
It takes me just a second to compose myself and I manage to say nonchalantly 'Nothing. Go ahead.'
She goes ahead and finishes her ritual by dipping her Roti roll-dal-ketchup straight into the Kheer, and then takes a huge bite. She chews with immense satisfaction.
'Good?' I ask her.
Her mouth is too full for her to answer me, but she manages a Mmm-hmmm sound and nods vigorously while chewing.
I continue to watch indulgently as she proceeds to finish her entire meal in this unique way.