There’s a funny story about why B is such a fussy eater.
When he was really, really young – perhaps a couple of months old – we used to feed him Cerelac babyfood because we didn’t know what else to give such a tiny pup. B used to love his Cerelac (rice & apple) meals, often stepping into his plate in excitement as he slurped up the porridge mix.
After a few weeks, I suddenly realized that a Rs.250-worth pack of Cerelac was lasting us only about three days.
“If we go on this way, we’ll be bankrupt soon,” I told SR. But what other solution did we have? We couldn’t feed B rice or eggs yet. So, I devised a brilliant plan – substitute Cerelac with an inexpensive alternative. He was an Indie, wasn’t he? So Indian food is what he would have. I marched off to the supermarket and bought a carton of Banatone, a desi babyfood mix.
“Come Buttuppa…” I called him, clinking the spoon against the plate of freshly-made Banatone later that evening. The little fellow came racing along the balcony, super-excited about his meal. I set the plate down in front of him. He rushed forward, nearly falling into it in the process, bent his little black head over it, and started eating.
Two licks later, he sat down on his haunches with a plop. I will never forget the look of dismay on his face.
“What did you do to my lovely rice-apple porridge?” he seemed to say.
“Eat, chellam”, I coaxed him. But honeyed words cannot take the horrid taste of banana sludge out of your mouth. He circled the plate unhappily, even sniffing it a couple of times, but he just couldn’t make himself eat that stuff again.
SR laughed his head off when I told him the story. But many I-told-you-sos later, I was determined that we should finish the carton of Banatone we’d bought.
“But he doesn’t like it – what are you going to do?” SR asked me. I had another brilliant idea. Mix small quantities of Banatone with his usual Cerelac so that its taste is masked, but we use it up anyway. I put my plan into action sneakily and am proud to say that for the most part, I did get away with it.
On some days, when my measurement was off by a couple of grams, B would freeze mid-sniff, hover uneasily around the plate, and dart suspicious glances at me. I would keep a wide-eyed, innocent face, and behave super casually, holding my breath till he resumed eating.
But in spite of all the effort and diabolical scheming, it took many months for that Banatone carton to get over – and I still had to eat half of it myself.