chapter 23 - Family Bonds

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' Mumma wants me to feed you."

I looked up from my phone and saw Victoria standing next to me with a plate of food and a glass that dripped with condensation.

The pooja had finished not long ago but I was banished to the living room as I had eaten meat that day. This was something new, I had been propositioned by a lot of women for a lot of different things, but ever to feed me.

'Oh don't give me that look!" she said exasperatedly. ' Mumma says that its supposed to make out love stronger. I told her that we were most certainly not in love but all she did was give me 'the look'. Last time she did that she chased me around the house with a broom."

She sat down beside me and started tearing up the puri into bite size pieces.

'Besides, I don't want to give them anything to worry about, you know. Papa doesn't look well and Mumma is exhausted even though she pretends she is fine."

' I guess your family is very close."

' uh huh! its pretty obvious though, " She said putting some puri and curry into her mouth. ' They are my everything you know?"

' I thought you were supposed to be feeding me! How is this supposed to make our love stronger? Especially if you are half starving the person you are supposed to be feeding in the process?"

' Well if you are going to keep ok talking Iam not going to be able to feed you. Besides, I am starving, all I had today was some fruit and yogurt. Martha went ballistic and said I was going to starve myself to death."

She held out a mouthful of food in front of me and I opened my mouth. The food was delicious and not too spicy as well. the doorbell started to go off and soon the house was full of people who had come to celebrate Diwili with the Singhs'.

' I asked Mumma just about the same thing and she said that that by eating off the same plate its supposed to bring us closer. Personally I think its a load of bullshit. But dont tell Mumma that! "

' Why did you parents call you lakshmi when they first saw you?" I asked in between mouthfuls.

' Do you really not know? Geez, you are more of a potato than I am!"

' Potato?"

' People like us, born Indian but raised like europeans.....anyway... the last day of Diwali is devoted to the goddess Lakshmi, it is said that she roams the earth on Diwali night and visits her devotees .We welcome her by lighting dias in her honour and we also do the Pooja for her. She is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. That is why on Diwali night we open all the window and doors, decorate the house and make so much sweets and food. If the goddess feels welcomed, and is pleased with out efforts, she will bless us in the coming year. I guess that was what my mother was saying.

Although I don't really like to be likened to a goddess."

The food was all done and I was absolutely stuffed. And surprised. I hadn't bolted to the kitchen in search of water or something to cool my mouth. I guess I was building a tolerance for chillie after all these weeks of secretly eating what Victoria had cooked, with Martha covering for me.

She handed the glass to me.

" Try it, this is mango lassi, its mango pulp, yoghurt, condensed milk...."

Suddenly the front door burst open and a young man I barely recognized came in lugging in two large plastic bins.

' Mumma, give me some food, I am starving!" he shouted as he dropped the bins in the living room. But when he saw Victoria it was like he had seen a ghost.

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