An egg a day and a peg a day

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was reading Prajavani keeping the paper close to her eyeballs.  I was about to ask her to keep the paper slightly away when she threw it down.

“Ajji, What happened? Didn’t like what you read?”

Alvo, Ramu. If children eat koli motte, won’t it strengthen their bones and improve overall health?”

“That’s what studies have shown.  Also, it’s one more way we can keep the poor and rich children at same uniform nutritional levels.”

“It’s not enough they wear same uniform dress to keep equality in the class. Why can’t the poorer children get better food, which they can’t get at home, so that they too can grow stronger physically and mentally?”

“Ajji! It appears it is being made in to a religious issue. That’s why the government has dropped the idea.”

Relgus gerlus sareenappa! We should keep it within our homes! If scientists have proved an egg a day is good for overall development for a child, why are these eggheads interfering in the affairs of the State! Isn’t the welfare of a child more important than any other belief, even if it is right? At this rate, somebody may want the departure time of 1100 hrs of Tipu Express to Bangalore on Fridays be changed, as it is falls during Rahukala period! Should the Government accept that too? It’s a sad day if it buckles under pressure of this sort.”

Howdajji!”

“Children should get poushtika ahaara, especially the poorer lot. Can they get dry fruits like badami, godambi, kharjura as some of these people who object have, every now and then as prasada? It’s perfectly all right for people to practice their faith in privacy, but they cannot force it on others and the Govt. It’s a shame, really.”

“Ajji, by the way…. How is your cold now?”

“Much better! The wretched cold and cough won’t leave me for more than three weeks. Every kashaya I tried didn’t work. ‘Shivane, innu nanna kathe mugeethu ankotha idde!  Your medicine worked for me like Ramabana.”

“Ajji! I was scared too. Finally, I thought I would give some foreign Kashaya. One spoon of that with milk for two days did wonders for you.”

“It really worked! Two days of uninterrupted sleep drove the cold away. Yava Aushadino adu?”

“Foreign kashaya Ajji! One spoon of brandy!”

Manehala! You gave me brandhi ?”

“Ajji! Look at this way. You tried whatever you knew. When the cold wouldn’t go away and you were coughing nonstop, I was worried and gave you whatever I knew and it worked. There is no point in being bullheaded on each and every issue. So it is with an-egg-a-day-for-a-child policy which can benefit millions of our children.”

“One more thing. Our neighbour Subbamma told me—it seems to keep apples and grapes fresh, vendors sometimes spray chemicals on them, which are more harmful. Koli motte has at least a protective outer covering.”

“Howdajji.”

“Ramu. Innondu maathu. ‘Makkale Devaru.’ Avarannu arogyavagi, buddhivantharagi belsuvudakkintha, manushyanige bere yava dharma doddado?”

Nija Ajji.”