Last Sunday I decided to quickly drop by my favourite grocery store across the street to buy the necessary. I carefully picked out each item placing it in my basket as I ran along to pay, when my eye vaguely spotted an item, I had adored with all my heart since I was a toddler. It was candy, probably like any other jelly but what fascinated me was its pizza shape with different flavors on top as fake vegetables. In no time, I was stopped by the thoughts flowing in my head of memories I had made as a child.
I was an innocent, bubbly girl who cycled every evening just to observe the different flowers growing all around the neighborhood and admiring its fragrance as I plucked it to carry home and add to my collection. The kind of kid who lay on the fresh green grass, quite happy in her own company and imagination, enjoying the blue of the sky and the fluffy clouds, singing all the songs I had learnt in school. I was quite a dramatic child, one who loved watching Bollywood serials with her grandmother, interested in all the spice of the show, who also learnt most of her Hindi from them, despite her hopeless skills now. The jelly was my most treasured candy that I was also often bribed with by my sister in exchange for not annoying her at all for a day. I was happy, unaware of something known as dystopia because for me there was only white ponies, rainbows and sparkle and the only thing I feared was “The Boogie Man” made up by all mothers to control their notorious and handful children. Rape cases, murders, suicides, clinical depression, drugs- everything was out of the perfect little world I had created for myself.
Nostalgic, I snapped back into reality, this time comparing my life 10 years ago versus now. I looked down at my basket and suddenly all the items reminded me of all the people in my life, good and bad. I examined all of them when I suddenly came across a carton of warm milk that instantly created a picture of my beautiful mother who was, as I always told her, made of the milk of human kindness. She is a warm -hearted woman who never fails to stand by me before every obstacle I face, who cares for me more than anyone ever will. I couldn’t stop imagining her next to me when I was sick and stuck in bed, giving me some medicines and waiting till I fell asleep. I always look up to her and I hope I’m half the woman she is, when I grow up.
The next item I came across was an egg. This made my mind paint a picture of my guy best friend, Faiyaz. He was unlike most teenagers, one who had created a shell outside himself, portraying himself as a guy who is brave and cold. After asking him a million times why he did it, I always received one answer which was that, that way he gets hurt less. But, once a person breaks that shell, there is a soft, caring guy with the most beautiful personality, who is neither afraid of judgments, nor does he hold himself back from being the weirdest person on planet earth. I, myself, have slowly gotten to know the real Faiyaz and it’s a shame not everybody gets to see what I do.
I stumbled across a lemon next. This instantly reminded me of, as every teenager has, the “high school enemy.” Now many would ask me, why a lemon? A lemon’s juice is so sour that you cant have much of it and it was the same with Zoya. There has not been one competition in school where we both don’t stand against each other, competing. She is probably the most pugnacious person I have met! Despite that, I don’t consider her to be a bad person, but maybe not one who’s compatible with me.
The next three items, an onion, an orange and a bottle of water reminded me of my three best friends, Keya, Naina and Aayush. I chose an onion for Keya because it has various layers that you peel, one by one and that is, in fact how she truly is. Each layer is one, of her personality that is so beautifully coloured and has every quality of a potential human being. As time has passed, I believe I have peeled through all the layers to have a full vision of her and it is the best I have seen. She is everything, trustworthy, humorous, caring and understanding and that’s all anyone ever needs.
As I looked down at my basket and at the oranges I had picked out, my friend Naina played in my head, dancing in her pyjamas and doing the weirdest steps I had ever seen. An orange has no hidden flavour. Once you taste it, it’s all there in your mouth and you can feel the mix between its sourness and sweetness all at once. I believed Naina to be an extrovert with no hidden aspect of her personality and that was beautiful in its own way as I truly feel it takes a lot for a person to be themselves no matter how weird, despite the judgments passed, especially in high school.
Examining the bottle of water, the only word that was in my head was simplicity that took me to think about my friend, Aayush. He was the simplest guy I had ever seen but unique in his own way. i thought of him like water- simple, without a specific taste, but just something everybody needs.
The last item in my basket was lemonade. At this point, everyone in my life including my father, mother, sister and everybody close to me ran through my mind. The flavour of a lemonade depends exactly on how you make it, how much sugar you put to make it too sweet or how less you put to make it too sour or if you choose to put the right amount of every ingredient to make it perfect. Being a firm believer in Karma, that lemonade was just a metaphor for my life and all the other ingredients in my basket, the ones who helped me make it.