“Why do they get to have so many when we have so few?”
“Because they don’t eat the paplet (pomfret), raja.”
“It’s not our fault they don’t eat fish. Why are we being punished? We like the kolumbi (prawns) too”
“Next time, I will ask for many, many more to be bought from the market. Then you can have all that and the fish. Chala putano, jeva aata. (Come my dears, eat your food now.)”
Pick any weekend when there was a fish dinner at grandma’s and you could count on this conversation replaying like a broken record. My cousin Pags and I always knew that we had a sweet deal. His sister and mine knew that that nothing would change, the same thing would happen the next time. Yet one of them always complained of the unfairness of it all. It was almost ritualistic, their complaints, my grandma’s cajoling, Parag and I eating up quick before anyone had a chance to change their mind, the post-dinner grumbling.
I still cannot eat fried prawns without thinking of that time.