Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Maladu Days




A small packet was dropped before me. Rows of little powdered milk cubes were lined inside. Probably just another snack that dad brought. But why did it look so familiarly yummy already? Slowly, I picked out one of those little cubes and looked at it. "It's maladu." said mom, noticing my scrutiny. One small bite...and the cube melted in my tongue...that powdered milk giving life to all those taste buds as if they had been dead all along...and with the powdered milk, all that was around me melted away...

A sudden excitement crept into every inch of my body as I bounced off in full speed to my front door. I'd heard her hoot from downstairs...she was here again! Halting right in time before hitting the wall, I climbed up the grills of the nearby window to get a glimpse of her. Holding the cold iron bars tightly, I peered through the opening in the grills. Aah, there she was, at the bottom of our staircase, lowering her basket down  from her head.

"Mummieeeeee!! Maalaadooo maameee's heeeereee!!! " I screamed out. And then I looked back at dear maladoo maamy, with a kind of elation that only a four year old could have on seeing her favourite snack within reach. Maladus were so yummy, those round little balls of magic powder, perhaps the love of my life at the time. And each time it got finished at home, I would wait for maladu maamy, who would always come back with more. And here I was on top of the grills, bubbling with joy on having sighted her.

But where was my mother? Why wasn't she responding to my call? Suddenly I was afraid that mom wouldn't show up and maladu maamy would go away. I was afraid of missing out on this time's maladus. In desperation, I called out again, "Mummiieeeee!!"

Before I could get any more disappointed, I was surprised to see mom and my sister downstairs standing next to maladu maamy. How did they get outside? Oh wait, they'd gone to the market hadn't they? How could I forget?! Mummy was looking up at me with a smile. Had they heard me all the way from the market and rushed home? Probably, because I cannot imagine missing my maladus! Yes, they knew that they had to reach home ASAP.

Fast forward thirteen years, and I sat with another cube in my hand, eyes wide. Another flash of memory...I was looking straight at mom, and for the hundredth time or so she chanted, "Little Wilhelmine..looks with wonder waiting eyes."
All these years, and it was only today that I read the lines of the poem she'd recited so long ago, the Battle of Blenheim. I looked up at mom now, but she was engaged with something else. A sudden realization occurred at how much I'd grown up since then. 

Looking back at the maladu in my hand, which was no longer round-shaped like it used to be thirteen years ago, but still had that unmistakable taste of the ones maladu maamy used to bring, the flashback I experienced is similar to the Ratatouille movie when the food critic was presented with a childhood dish; ratatouille itself. The moment the dish touched his tongue, he was a child again, devouring the ratatouille his mother made for him, and he couldn't possibly be any happier.

Today I saw the truth in it. When I eat these maladus now, that same illogical elation engulfs me, as if the best thing that could happen in life is to be able to eat yet another maladu. When I come to think of it, its funny how easily happiness came to us as kids. Age sucks in the slightest of the joys we enjoy. But not unless we  choose otherwise. 

Sometimes the memories hidden in the deepest part of our minds resurface and remind us of the little reasons behind our childhood smiles, like this maladoo did to me. And now I know, that if ever I am in need of happiness, all I really need is a maladu, and I shall be a four year old again...happy as can be..with those wonder waiting eyes.




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