Sameera sat at the table looking at the food on her plate. The salad looked very colorful with greens, yellows, oranges and pinks. It was decorated delicately to appease the eye. But she didn’t want to dig in. She hates vegetables, most of all salad. She can try doing one vegetable at a time, but a bunch of them cut and thrown colorfully onto a plate to eat was unpalatable. She was a meat and potato kind-a girl.
“Sameera eat your salad,” Came her mom’s warning from the kitchen as she made hot rotis to follow. However, she had to cross the hurdle of finishing the salad to have the appetizing rotis with mutton. The thought made her salivate. She hated her life at that very moment.
She reluctantly picked a piece of celery with her fork, looked with eyes dripping venom as she said, “I hate you.”
“What did I do?” Asked celery.
“You made my life miserable.”
“Oh, please, wait a minute… I sacrificed my life to give you health and you hate me? Actually it should be me who should hate you for cutting me early so that I taste crisp and fresh. You could have at least leave me to live a few more days… No, you guys were in a hurry to make a fast buck and so here I am,” Came celery’s rebuttal.
Sameera quietly looked at Celery without a word still hating it for being called food.
Carrot and Tomato said, “Hey, I understand you don’t like Celery. He tastes like grass.” They looked at Celery and said, “Please don’t take offence.” And said to Sameera,“what about us? We taste good don’t we? Juicy and sweet and from your tummy our effect spreads to your eyes and brain. Aren’t we awesome? And you hate even us. That’s not fair.”
Sameera felt bad for Celery and said, “Hey don’t worry I hate them as much as I hate you.”
“Kids these days weird logic,” said the Tomato as she snuggled behind a big leaf of Lettuce knowing Meera won’t disturb her. As she pulled the cover of Lettuce over her she gave a nudge to Mushroom and he woke up yawning asking, “What, what, what happened? Why did you wake me up. I was in my sweet dream eating breathing fresh air playing with other fungi meeting earthworms. Ooh… You killed all of it. What is it now? She hates us all alike. What’s new? Tell me if you have a plan to change that or else don’t disturb me,” He said and rolled over his mighty figure and dozed back to dream again.
Brinjal from the basket of vegetables on the dining table away from Sameera said, “If you want to listen, I have a plan.”
“What plan can ugly Brinjal have? You don’t even have any nutrition in you? Why should we listen to you?” Asked the carrot who always boasts about her look.
“Hey Carrot, what is said is not a nice thing to say. He is a vegetable too. We have to respect that,” Said Tomato removing her head from under her cover, contributing o the discussion in the plate.
“Hello! Guys, it’s me you are talking about. Don’t I get a say?” Asked Meera listening to their conversation patiently.
“Okay let’s hear it first,” said Carrot.
“Let’s take her to the farm and show her how we are grown and what our lives are like. May be then she’ll love us,” Said Brinjal with a scared look on his face.
“That’s a great idea,” Said Tomato and everyone else agreed including Meera. An agenda was chalked with a plan.
The following morning Sameera packed her backpack with all the essentials in case she had to stay overnight. And she went to the farm with veggies. They all walked together and Sameera laughed at Mushroom walking in hops, Tomato rolling over to scale distance, Lettuce leaves flying over them, and Celery scaling the longest yard leading the team to the farm.
The manager invited us in and took us into a green house where every vegetable was a sapling lined-up in tiny plastic bags, from there some were being re-planted in the ground and of those re-planted some were fruiting. A man in a mask arrived with a big cylindrical tank attached to a long rubber tube with a nossle. He sprayed something that smelled awful. All the veggies stuffed their noses with their hands so as to not breath in poison…
“See what they do to us?” Asked Carrot.
“Yuk… I hate you even more now,” Said Sameera.
“We do so much for you and all we get in return is hatred!” Exclaimed Tomato.
As Sameera turns around and starts walking back, all the Veggies follow her trying to present their arguments to convince her.
As she came out of the farm, she saw a little boy by the side of the big blue and yellow striped garbage bin. His clothes were torn, and his ribs were showing with no muscle to mask, his face and body smelled of rotten Vegetables, his mouth dripping Tomato juice, seeds sticking to his chin. The boy was picking from the dustbin and was slitting them apart like a hungry tiger tearing on its hunt. He did not even stop to chew on the bite as it was bad to contain in his mouth for more than a sec due to its smell. Also, hunger got the best of him. He didn’t care what was happening around him or who was watching and dug deeper into the bin to find food.
Sameera sank to the ground crying, moved by the sight. After she was consoled by the vegetables around her, she opened her bag and gave the boy a pack of cookies and came home with a heavy heart.
That was the last time Sameera made fuss about eating Vegetables!
And Veggie-Delight became her Favorite Salad!