I put my hands in the pockets of my jacket as I walked back home from the morning walk. The subtle sunrays were slowly invading into winter’s cold territory. I looked to my right when the sweet smell of sugar syrup prompted me to do so. Ah! I was just opposite Mohanlal Halwai’s shop. As usual, it was crowded.
Winter mornings in our little sleepy town meant cozy clothes and a warm breakfast. And what better than kachoris and jalebis, fresh out of the kadhai.
He always says that Mohanlal Halwai’s jalebis are the best in the world. Perfect in shape and taste, they just melt into the mouth. While narrating stories from his childhood, he would always mention jalebis. After all, they are his favorite delicacy.
A thought crossed my mind. Why don’t I surprise him with jalebis for breakfast today? I would love to see the expression on his face.
Quickly, I went towards the shop and managed to get half a dozen jalebis, while struggling to place my order amidst the crowd of customers. It seemed such a big mission accomplished when I could actually got the jalebis.
Happy and excited, I strolled back home. It was 7:20 in the morning. I opened the lock slowly, careful not to make a noise. He had woken up and was taking in the warm sun rays, sitting in the balcony. I walked towards him and clutching the packet of jalebis in my hand, I greeted him.
“Good morning, Dadu.”
He looked at me, but not with surprise or happiness. He was puzzled.
“Who are you?”
I was used to this. His Alzheimer’s made him forget things every now and then.
I smiled and sat down beside his chair.
“I am Pihu, your granddaughter. See, there’s our picture,” I pointed to a framed picture on the wall.
He looked at it for a few seconds and then kept his hand over my head.
“Oh! Pihu, I’m sorry Beta. I… I just couldn’t remember.”
I could sense an air of sadness creeping over him. I held his hand and smiled. Diverting from the topic, I said, “It’s alright, Dadu. I’ve something for you.”
I handed him the packet. Slowly opening them with his frail fingers, he took out a jalebi.
He took a small bite and smiled.
“Ah! Jalebis from Mohanalal’s. You don’t know how much I love these. When I was a little kid, I…”
Dadu began narrating tales from his childhood. I had heard them a lot of times, but the joy on his face when he remembered those days was worth listening to the stories again and again. It brought him closer to a detached segment of life.
With time, he had forgotten most of the details. But, whatever little he remembered was enough to give him a moment of happiness. And this, is what bliss means to me.
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