A lunch break on Friday. It’s the only day we’re served Paneer Butter Rice in the school canteen. I’d longed for this dish for precisely two agonising days. An obsession had formed in my mind, the thought of Paneer Butter Rice had me ready to run for the food stall, as soon as the bell for lunch break would ring.
However, as luck would have it, work caught up with me and I was delayed. As I rushed out of my classroom, five minutes was all it took for the stall nearby to run out of food. With the wallet in my hand, I ran down the flight of stairs, a glimmer of hope in my heart to find this dish at another stall. I was skipping down steps, jumping down three steps at a time. There was a rush of adrenaline.
About a metre and a half away from the stall, I could see what I wanted, the school lunch package, only one of its kind present. The meal would either be my favourite school combination of shining yellow rice, layers of which were packed with a gravy the colour of the Martian soil (to best describe it) and flavoured with a sweet taste and a tinge of spice, topped with chunks of paneer or the meal would be insignificant, non-consequential ‘Vegetable Biryani’. My heart beat faster as I was about to find out- What was there in store for me.
I skipped a few steps, edged my body forward over the ledge of the table to look over and confirm what this item so placed was. I took a deep breath, and felt my chest get lighter as I read the initials ‘B.P.’ in bold, marked across the cover in bold black letters.
Would this treat justify what I’d dreamt of for the past few days? Would the Paneer Butter Rice be what I’d recalled from the previous year which motivated me and led me to believe that it would be the same as it has been in the past and in fact not a pretentious imposter? I produced a wad of ten rupee notes and handed them over to the lady at the counter. “Nahi Beta, ye kisi aur ka order hai,” came the response!
–Vickram Peter 11B