A little girl like you
Remember when you were young and your mother used to give you a rupee and ask you to buy cashew nuts from the corner store? The payasam would be ready. The cardamoms would have been pounded. The ghee would be smoking in a small pan on the stove. Hurry, she would urge you, Appa is about to sit down for lunch. I can't make him wait for the payasam. And you would run down to the store, slide the coin across the counter and ask Chettiar for cashew nuts. He would take the coin, slip it into his cash box and nod to the errand boy to carry out the task. The boy would tip a handful of cashews onto the scales, weigh them under the watchful eyes of his employer, wrap them in a newspaper cone and tie them with a small string of coir.
No sooner had you turned the corner, than the string would come undone. You would slip a few of the buttery nuts into your palm. And toss them all straight into your mouth. Then it'd become a struggle to finish them without a trace before you reached home. Amma would have been waiting impatiently. You'd wipe your mouth with the back of your palm and hand over the hastily re-wrapped bundle to her. You'd smile when you heard her complain how much Chettiar charged for such a small handful of nuts. You thought you'd pulled the wool over her eyes. But you forgot, she too was a little girl once. And she remembers well what the little ones get up to.