The Everlasting War With the Street Kitchen Monster
By Shweta Dhar Chowdhury
“She will be fine… don’t panic”
It was 11 in the night and I could feel Shayra’s hands turn cold, her pulse miss a beat, her face pale in fear as she peeped through the glass to catch a glance of Linda. The doctors were examining her, exchanging medical terms and initiating treatment. From the little I understood of medicines we figured out that it was a case of acute food poisoning.
It reminded me of a piece of news I read the other day. A new study by the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Pusa revealed high faecal contamination in junk food items, specifically in West and Central Delhi. The study showed extremely high volumes of E.coli bacteria in street foods, causing severe infections. The numbers aren’t quite convincing in other parts of the country as well.
A drop trickled down the syringe and as it made its way into her child’s body, Shayra clawed my palm in horror and pain. That’s how mothers are and I could feel every bit of anxiety she was going through.
Linda had been complaining about stomach cramps since the past few days and as is the general norm, we love to diagnose such complains at home. From a bitter Ayurvedic tonic straight from the grandma’s kitchen to popping up that pill suggested by the next-door pharmacy, we try our hands at everything before consulting a specialist. It was no different with Shayra, who was juggling between two worlds, one of the corporate ecospace and other of that being a single parent to a five-year old daughter. It was only late today when Linda broke down in pain that Shayra realised the seriousness and rushed her to the nearby clinic.
“We have given her an intravenous to ease the pain and put her on drips to stabilize the condition. She needs rest and a platter of healthy meals for the next one week”
The doctors had done their work, leaving us to ponder on what all the girl might have gobbled in the past week. Burgers, chips, confectioneries, the list was endless. So, where did all the health-conscious sandwiches and consciously made noodles low on spice go? Shayra anticipated the answers, it had to be either the playground adjacent to her apartment or her girl’s street side pet, Browny.
“I’m so tired of her. What else can I do but pack her lunch box early in the morning to avoid all of this. Why doesn’t she understand. I can’t see her going through this”
Shayra mumbled in between sobs, seeing Linda on bed with hands pricked with needles. I could relate to every bit of her apprehension as there was a similar battle with my kiddo each day. While I love the glint in her eyes as she gorges on to a slice of her favourite cheese pizza or twirls that long string of noodle in her fork before slurping it up, I’m equally worried about how I could supplement the nutritious value via other foods essential in her growth years.
The concern and fear often have me think of floating yet another business idea; health meal plans for kids across schools and homes. I’m sure it won’t drill as big a hole in my pocket than buying a drone and have it hover around my kid’s head to monitor what all bacteria and viruses she picks up on her way home.
Huhhh… is someone listening!
Worried about that E.coli that makes its way into your kiddo’s tummy. Give a buzz on 18008333377 or drop a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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