The Bespectacled Mother

The case of black halwa #MondayMusings

This incident is from my childhood days when one of my aunts came to visit us with her 2 little daughters in summer vacation.

One evening, my mother offered to make sooji halwa (semolina pudding) for the kids, the 4 of us. She made it in her usual style with the perfect shade of brown. It was exactly like the way me and my brother liked it.

However, the Aunt’s daughters refused to eat it. They wailed and complained of the halwa not being black but brown. Thus, unable to talk them out of the situation, Aunt had to step in to prepare it all over again. When the plates came out of the kitchen and landed on the table, we found its colour to be pitch black. The girls were delighted and began savouring Β the black halwa with unmatchable pleasure. Β Curious enough, brother and I thought of tasting it. We took one spoonful each, tasted it, coughed and threw it out. We were amused because the black colour was the result of burnt sooji due to over-roasting. We made fun of their disdainful taste. Engrossed in our amusement, we couldn’t notice their 3 faces turned red with embarrasment.

Today, looking back, I do not feel proud of what we did that evening. Compassion is what we missed to practice that evening but we never got a lesson in it. Relatives picking on each other for the purpose of deriving sadistic pleasure was (and still is) the commonly accepted norm and therefore, our act was written off under the clout of normal.

Thinking of it, we could have made a difference. Showing compassion, we should have accepted everyone has got different tastes, burnt or not burnt, and they are perfectly entitled to have their own without the need to confirm to ours.

Linking this post with #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne Rodrigues

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23 thoughts on “The case of black halwa #MondayMusings

  1. You know Anamika, we are not at all sensitised when it comes to respecting someone else’s choice when it comes to food. There is always some kind of superiority complex that kicks in. We need to learn, we really do to avoid these kind of situations where acceptance should have ruled the roost and not the other way round


  2. So true Anamika. I see that happening even today. You’re right, children simply follow their elders in these matters – what passes around comes back too but everyone loves this one-up-manship and the cycle continues. Its all for fun they say if you try to teach them not to do so. We are much more conscious about these reinforcements nowadays and there is a need to, I guess. I feel to a great extent it is globalisation which has brought this shift in perception that we ought to respect even those who are every different from us culturally.


  3. I sometimes wonder if we over-think our responses as kids πŸ™‚ I agree that laughing and pointing out mistakes is something we all do as a family and we shouldn’t be mean about it of course. Always good to cultivate compassion and help kids develop empathy.

    Then again, kids learn by making mistakes and even if it happens later, much later,it’s still a lesson well learnt, in my opinion πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m just going to add my +1 to Shailaja’s comment here.
      Having said that, some good natured ribbing between cousins and immediate family is sort of a given; Of course, not to a point where it makes the other person uncomfortable or upset.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rajlakshmi on said:

    Yes as a kid we thought it was ok to make fun of others… Even today grown ups chide the eating habits of others… Take for example chinese or Korean cuisine and you will have people make all kinds of joke about them. There’s this unmistakable pleasure people take in derision. Loved the train of thoughts following black halwa.


  5. I think you can be forgiven because you were just kids. It’s when adults refuse to outgrow such rude behaviour that it’s cause for concern. Don’t beat yourself about an innocent reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One relative’s coconut burgi came out black and she attributed that to the evil eye that had caused her daughter’s near fatal accident. You are right about our quickness to judge people especially as children…


  7. Dashy on said:

    It’s disheartening to see some kids being rude, but I too now repent the many times I was the same as a child. I guess we can be forgiven as long as we don’t continue practising it. And tastes of food differs among people, yes even considering burnt dishes. My sister and I used to bake cakes that ended up like hardened brownies…but we got used to it and still loved it. We called it our special dish that we can’t buy from any shop, being something in between halwa and cake. πŸ™‚


  8. Real good learning out of the whole episode. And I can relate to it so much. Many times, far off incidents come back to your mind, making you think, what you did then was wrong and going forward should not be done. But good part is that is how we learn and grow! πŸ™‚ Isn’t it!!


  9. You were kids at that time and didn’t realize about the wrong. Don’t be hard for as kids we do things without realizing. But, brave of you to write and accept mistakes made in the past.


  10. We cannot expect compassion from kids…..They are little devils in this regard….As adults, we need to teach them, often repeatedly, that we should not hurt anyone’s feelings. What hurts is when adults behave indifferently towards the need of other people.


  11. Kids behaving this way is understandable. They’re kids but I’ve seen adults do this and that’s just rude. Growing up when we went to someone’s home to eat our dad told us to take a tablespoon of everything on the table whether we liked it or not. We were to be appreciative and thankful. And we were.


  12. I guess spitting that blackened halwa was just a reflex reaction, something we aren’t trained to control as kids. So it’s okay to push away or throw out something you don’t like, only if you are concealed from the opposite person’s vision field πŸ˜€


  13. Ah! How quickly we all jump to judgements. People hardly pause to think twice, to accept differences. And when we are older and wiser, it can take us some time to make compassion our default option, rather than judgement.


  14. Some good natured ribbing among cousins and siblings is perfectly alright in my books. My brothers teased me a lot and even if I sometimes did whinge about it, it was all taken in good humour and helped me laugh at myself and be better prepared for the world. I’d go so far as to say that much of this teasing bonded us much closer to our cousins – who now in our 60s, 50s, 40s and 30s (all 27 of us) still find ways to connect.
    It’s when people do this with an intention to humiliate and pull down others that worries me.


  15. I think we all have moments in our childhood when our compassion was sorely lacking (I know I do). However, the fact that our adult selves recognize it, makes a huge difference in and of itself.


  16. I think you are being too hard on yourself. You were a child and any mistake that’s not repeated is good enough to learn from. Today, you are talking about compassion and that your learning which now Dhruv will get – so a good timing to think of those days, right?


  17. upasna1987 on said:

    I remember one of my Cousins making fun of other Cousin’s family having Parantha and pickles as their breakfast. One should respect others choices. But what you did was something not intentional.


  18. Even though you may regret how you treated your cousins, the fact that you now feel that way and can reflect on how you might have behaved differently means that you grew up. Yes, as kids we can be insensitive but it is only a problem if you never learn to do better.


  19. What a perfect line: “they are perfectly entitled to have their own without the need to confirm to ours.” Isn’t that true for so many things.


  20. Everything that my kids eat in front of my father-in-law, he’ll look at in disgust: “Ugh. They like that crap?” They are all healthy & a healthy weight & we give them good food most of the time but it doesn’t matter what it is. My father-in-law always comments negatively. My husband and I will say to the kids right in front of him: “It’s okay. You eat fine.”


  21. Relatives picking and mocking others are common practices in our society. What you do was a child’s naivety! I saddens me when grown-ups indulge in such behaviour. Compassion is not only good for others, it also brings peace to you.

    A thought provoking read.


  22. This is a really nice post. A good reminder that we all have events in our childhoods (and not so long ago too perhaps) that make us feel ashamed, but the important thing is that we learn from them.


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