On Mother’s Day Agastya came home from preschool with a card that he had made. Inside, his teacher had transcribed “I love my mommy… because… she makes pasta for me.” I was surprised. To begin with, pasta was an occasional quick meal in our home. It was our equivalent of fast food. I liked to imagine that I made meals that were more thoughtful for Agastya. These meals involved lots of chopping, color mixing and patient cooking. There were omelets, fruit plates, soups, stir-fried vegetables, lentils with rice and roti. But pasta was a relative newcomer on our table. Vegetables and sauces would make their way into our pasta over time, but at the moment the versions I made for him were usually small shapes tossed in olive oil with a sprinkle of dried basil.
So I was puzzled. Why was he talking about simple, plain and often bland pasta? Did he like pasta that much? How about all that time spent making variations of khichri? The hours reading Chrysanthemum yet again, playing Slips and Ladders or making puzzles? Why was there no mention of those?
It occurred to me that perhaps he was just talking about the fact that I cook for him. Especially since pasta was usually cooked upon request. The operational word, then, was “make.” I realized that I was lazy about many, many things, but never about cooking for him. For instance, I might have said no to painting, park, play-doh, but I had never said no to pasta.
“Can you make pasta for me?” The words were enough to make me fly into the kitchen to set the water on the stove and to start chopping garlic. Cooking for Agastya had somehow become an expression of my love for him. Oddly enough, it was a love that he appeared to recognize.