Santre Ki Jawaani

Up until I was in 5th standard, Amma used to give me snacks to school. Every year before the start of school, we used to go shopping for school bags, lunch bags, pencil boxes, and water bottles for my sister and I. For me, we bought everything in blue colour because I was in blue house in school. For Vishi, we bought everything in green because she was in green house.

Amma’s favourite thing to do was to give us fruits and nuts for snacks. Now that I think about it, I should actually thank her for it. But that time I was very angry because Meghna’s mom never gave her fruits. No. Meghna only bought banana chips, bourbon biscuits and potato chips for snacks and everybody in class wanted to be her friend.

One day Amma was feeling lazy and she just threw in a whole orange in my lunch bag. When I opened my snacks in school, I was so angry. First of all she’s giving me fruits and now she wants me to peel this orange by myself and eat it? And so I did. I don’t know if I particularly liked the fruit. It was sweet but sour on my tongue. I guess I really only liked the texture. But I also liked how it felt when you bit into a segment and all the juices flowed out of those little translucent orange pulps.

Sometimes I’d wondered if I could count how many pulps were there in one segment. When I was done eating all the segments by myself, the boy who sat next to me took a bit of my orange peel and sprayed it on my cheek.

It stung but I liked the feeling. Soon, everybody in my row wanted a piece of the peel and everyone was just spraying each other. That sounds a bit wrong but, you know. That was the most fun 15 minute snacks break I’d had. Nobody wanted Meghna’s banana chips that day. I was happy. Everyday after that, I opened my lunch bag hoping for a full orange.

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Nichaela Shammah

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