Every Sunday afternoon, Smita Aunty made laddus for her family and of course, her little neighbour Bobby. The little balls of sweetness made Bobby very happy. He would come over to Smita Aunty’s and enjoy his share of laddus along with lassi. Each time he left after saying thank you, the sweet neighbour would hand him a tiffin box full of more laddus which he would share with his parents. Sometimes, if Bobby was in a good mood, he would offer one to his best friend, Asim. At other times, he would polish the box clean himself, giving his parents the expected single helping.
The trouble started when a boy called Amar moved into the house next door. Amar loved laddus too. Smita Aunty started to invite him also over every Sunday. Bobby was not upset until he saw the plate between himself and Amar; they could only have three each if each boy shared
equal helpings. Bobby was used to having four or five when he visited. He hoped that Amar would eat only one or two. He watched and watched while Amar happily chewed his laddus.
”Oh no! This greedy boy just ate four laddus,” realised Bobby with anger. To make things worse, Smita Aunty gave them both laddus to take home and Bobby found two less than the usual number in his box.
“Ma, Smita Aunty let Amar eat more laddus than me,” he complained at home.
His mother scolded, “Don’t be so greedy,” Bobby. Learn to share.”
The next Sunday, Bobby was ready with a plan. As soon as Smita Aunty served the laddus on the table, he tried to distract Amar.
“Look,” he pointed outside the window. ”Isn’t that a giant crow!”
When Amar turned his head to look, Bobby quickly stuffed one laddu in each of his cheeks. Before he could chew, Amar turned back and Smita Aunty had pulled over a chair to join them. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and smiled at them.
“Goodness, Bobby! You have become quite chubby, my boy,” she said, staring at his full cheeks.
Bobby just nodded to avoid giving himself away. Amar was busy looking for the huge crow again. The moment Smita Aunty left the table to answer
her phone, Bobby swallowed the laddus and gulped down a glass of water.
The following Sunday was worse. When they entered the house, Smita Aunty announced that she had decided to make fewer laddus for them.
“Bobby is gaining too much weight,” she explained. ”Health is important,” she added with concern.
Bobby felt like crying. That day, he ate his fair share but later convinced Amar to give him his box of laddus.
“My cousin is visiting from the States,” he lied to the other boy. Amar was kind, so he gave Bobby the laddus. At home, Bobby hid the two tiffin boxes under his bed. When everybody went to sleep, he took them out.
“Yummy,” he said to himself. Then he ate all seven from his box. He thought of going to bed. But he thought and thought about the laddus that were waiting in Amar’s box.
“I should finish those before Mother and Father find them,” he thought.
Bobby reached for them. When he was feeling ill and about to stuff the last two into his mouth, his father came to the door.
“Why are you still awake?”
Bobby stared back at him, his cheeks stuffed with the laddus. He wanted to chew or at least swallow, but couldn’t. His father noticed the tiffin boxes near his bed and asked where they had come from.
Bobby could not reply. His father reached for Amar’s box which had half a laddu remaining in it. Bobby leaped up with a shout, losing his prized laddus and leaving his father laughing loudly.
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)