Chandrika liked to have pizza any time of the day. She preferred them to any other dish. The aroma of pizza could wake her from her sleep and that was also something her parents offered her as a reward for any accomplishment. Chandrika’s parents thought she might get tired of pizza as she grows up and would develop taste for something else.
She had tasted pizza at one of her friend’s birthday parties at the age of four and since then it remained her favourite.
As her eighth birthday was coming up, Chandrika called out to her mom and started listing her birthday plans and how she wanted the party to be. They agreed on pizza as the food. Only her taste for toppings had changed over the years.
Chandrika’s mother never failed to guide her and she tried many ways to make her choose healthier options. They both sat at the dining table munching cookies and chips as mom asked how her day was. Chandrika began to explain while mom simultaneously gathered her lunch bag and began emptying it.
As Chandrika’s mother saw the leftover veggies and fruits in the lunch bag, she began her usual lecture on the importance of fruits and vegetables. She explained to Chandrika the importance of having well-balanced diet.
Giving excuses to go out and play, Chandrika cut her mother short and ran off to join her friends. Post dinner, Chandrika watcher her favourite cartoons and went to bed, saying goodnight to her mom and dad.
Chandrika woke up to the smell of cheese pizza. She couldn’t wait to have a bite of it. She wondered if her mom was going to offer a pizza for breakfast as it was her birthday today.
Chandrika rushed to the bathroom and looked at the mirror. She was startled to see that her face resembled a pizza with cheese and tomato toppings.
Olives as eyes, zucchini as a nose, lips and ears made of bell peppers. She screamed “Mama, I have turned in to a pizza. Help me!” She ran from one end to another inside the house and then ran out of the house amidst the vehicles shouting and screaming.
She stopped by a bus stop, trembling. A dog barked and sniffed in her direction. The dog jumped and tried to grab a bite of pizza.
Chandrika with her pizza face tried to hush and shush the dog away.
Realizing that it wasn’t helping, Chandrika started to run again as fast as her feet could take her.
She halted as she was tired and gasped for breath. Panting hard, she looked for food around and noticed a fruit stall nearby.
She grabbed couple of grapes and ate them as fast as possible and looked for more things to eat. Just then, she noticed a cow behind her, staring at her face. She started to run again and was constantly faced with threats of being eaten by either cows, dogs or monkeys.
As Chandrika found her way in to a playground filled with kids, she thought it was her safest halt. Just then she saw children running towards her with gleaming faces shouting.
Chandrika thought she was cornered and there was no means of escape. With children, a cow and a dog behind her, she was sure to be eaten up. She covered her pizza face with both of her hands and shouted, “Maaa…”
Chandrika felt a hand on her shoulder pulling her. It grabbed her and lifted her up and she felt wind on her face. While she moved up in air the voice said, “No one messes with my daughter.”
Chandrika felt chilly and attempted to grab her blanket that had almost fallen off her bed. She woke up feeling her face and rubbing her eyes.
“I don’t have a pizza face,” she screamed.
She ran to her mom who was busy cooking and announced happily, “I am not pizza-faced, Ma!’ Her mother looked at her, confused for a moment. Then she said, “I’m sure this has something to do with your dream.” Chandrika hugged her mother and said, “I want veggies and fruits for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Delighted, her mother offered to re-make her breakfast and lunch as she was half-way done packing Chandrika’s pizza for lunch and getting her breakfast on the table. Chandrika cheerfully dressed up and sat on her chair eating fruits for breakfast.
As she ate her breakfast and asked for more her mother jovially remarked, “Don’t eat so much that you turn in to a veggie or a fruit.” They both laughed as they imagined Chandrika as a brinjal, a tomato and an apple.