Sunday, November 2, 2014

Of Battles, Corn Puffs and Self-Discipline

Raghav loves eating corn puffs....the bright orange, sticky, spicy stuff that comes in packets, which we get fresh only in one store. That is probably the only 'junk' food he loves - no aerated drinks, juices and chips in packets. Not for him. But some months ago, he had two root canals done and stopped eating chocolates and this on his own. If someone brought him chocolates, he would politely refuse to take them, saying that he didn't eat them anymore. We thought that was the end of his explorations with these foods. But knowing how he likes to form his own boundaries, we should have known better! :)

Suddenly, a few days ago, he expressed a desire to eat corn puffs again. I guess he was reminded of it when we passed that store. Both Srinath and I said that we would like to talk about it a little more before deciding on anything, but we all forgot. A little while ago, Raghav remembered again and wanted to have a discussion. This is how it went.....

R: I really want to have corn puffs again.

Me: Why do you want it again now?

R: Because I love the feeling in my mouth when I eat it, and the taste. It kind of just melts in my mouth, and it is so easy to eat....I don't have to chew at all....

Me: Ok. So you like it because it is so easy to eat and it melts in your mouth? How about 'pori' (puffed rice)? You love that too don't you? That also melts in the mouth and is easy to eat no?

R: Yes, but corn puffs is different. It has holes in it, through which the saliva goes in and soaks it up. Pori takes longer to melt and is not so tasty. I like the taste and the feeling of the corn puffs in my mouth.

Me: Yeah...I understand.....but I am worried about your eating corn puffs, because you don't or forget to gargle your mouth after eating anything, and don't like to be reminded too....and I am worried that you might get your tooth problems you remember what the dentist told you about cleaning your teeth after every meal, especially after eating sticky food?

R: Yes. But I will gargle and clean my teeth. I will make it a routine. Let's do one is my plan....we buy one packet of corn puffs for the whole week. I will eat only half a cup each day and only one time. Let's see how long that one packet lasts. And I will clean my teeth after each time.

S: But there is one more thing I am worried about. How do you know what there is in that corn puff? Does it list the ingredients? What if it has some chemicals or stuff that is not good for your body. We don't know what they put in it.

R: It must be made of corn flour. It does have ingredients listed on it. I like the taste and feeling.

Me: So you would rather have it because you like that taste and feeling, than think about what it might have, even if that  might not be good for your body?

S: Then why do you insist that we buy organic vegetables? We can eat anything no?

R (telling us the story with his hands): See...let me tell's like this...suppose there is a battle of two team, which is the 'taste and feeling of corn puffs team' has 100 soldiers, and the other which is the 'organic' team has 90 soldiers....the 'taste and feeling' team wins because it is stronger.

We laughed and is great fun having these conversations! :)

Me: But isn't that unfair? One team is already stronger than the other. It will always win!

S: So going with the taste and feeling is stronger than whether it is organic or not or full of chemicals or not?

R: Yes. So if it is a battle between two teams - the 'organic' team which has 100 soldiers and the 'taste' team which has 90 soldiers, then the 'organic' team will win, because it is more important for me to eat organic vegetables than just eat anything else for taste.

The choice was made, the decision sealed! And I guess learning to discipline one's self, has to come from within, not without... and yes, it comes at a cost....a cost which one cannot measure if one measures it with the usual yardsticks.

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