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Choice

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Choice

Often of a beautiful morning
after I have returned from a walk
I find my grandchildren
in a stretch of confusion
wondering what to have for breakfast
and what not.

I watch them face the pantry
eyeing the packages on the shelves
battling to choose
from the wide range in offer -
cereals of numerous combinations
in so many flashy packages;

baked potatoes, chips and fries,
pastries, waffles and doughnuts,
candies, cookies, and cakes ,
breads and bagels of different makes -
wheat, corn, rice and oat,
whole grain and multigrain,
raisin-stuffed, sesame-sprinkled and plain;

fruit juices, medleys and fresh fruits
of all varieties and seasons;

milk – full fat, two percent and fatless,
and yoghurt of so many cultures,
coffee – brewed and instant,
tea – hot, iced and gourmet….

Alas! they are lost in indecision
even as the list goes on and on!

Then I relate with nostalgia
my days of childhood and youth
back home in India
and tell them all I had for breakfast

was a hot cup of milk from the kettle
and a fresh loaf of round bread
from the only baker in the neighborhood -
the same white loaf everyday
that I would so eagerly await
as the baker tossed it hot from the oven
into my waiting hands

and I juggled it
from one hand to another
to let it cool down
before I fell on it with my ravenous appetite
and ate with such a relish !

When they notice how
the very thought of that flavor
sends my mouth a watering
and flares my nostrils sixty years after,
they shout,
‘That is the bread we would like, grandpa,
that is the breakfast we are looking for!’