My maternal grandmother used to have a red ribbon when she
was a little girl of eight. Her darling father had bought her a set of four red
One afternoon, when her mother had dozed off, she tied her
hair with a red ribbon and went off as the red riding hood with her pets which
included three dogs, three goats and eight chickens following her.
When my maternal great grandmother got up from her sleep,
she was extremely terrified finding her daughter missing and the pets too were
gone. She called out to her daughter at every nook and corner of her house, but
there wasn’t a single answer from anywhere.
Soon, she and her other children went out in her search and
what did they find out?
That my dearest and maternal grandmother had gone to her
father’s work place, which was a huge estate (he was the chief manager there)
and there she and her father were playing Red riding hood. Her father was
playing the role of a village chieftain and she was the heroine aka the red
As soon as he saw his wife and his other children standing
in front of him, he exploded out laughing.
He said-“See my daughter is the red riding hood and all of
you are no good”.
As a result of this, both of them – my grandmother and her
father were served only bread and milk for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two
consecutive days and on the third day morning when my grandmother woke up, she
found that very beautiful aroma of delicious food had filled the entire house.
She rushed into the kitchen and hugged her mother from behind and asked her-“Ma,
what are you preparing?”
Her mother-“All of your favourite dishes, including boneless
mutton curry, Kashmiri pulao and khejurer (dates) chutney.”
My maternal grandmother and her mother, both of them held on
to each other for a minute or so.
Then a rare happening in the universe took place.My
grandmother apologised to her mother-“Sorry, Ma,I won’t do it again.”
Seldom had it happened that such beautiful cooks (both of
them were excellent and superb cooks) would stay calm without squabbling or
bickering with each other.
That day after my maternal grandmother had finished her
bath, my maternal great grandmother tied a red ribbon on her head and gave her
a big kiss and after that she fed her daughter that beautiful lunch which she
had prepared so lovingly for her daughter.
Those times have got over a long ago, but they still remain
fresh and beautiful in memory and in life.