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What is Love?

"How long will you be poring over that newspaper? Will you come here right away and make your darling daughter eat her food?"

I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter Sindu looked frightened. Tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with Curd Rice.

Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age. She has just turned eight. She particularly detested Curd Rice. My mother and my wife are orthodox and believe firmly in the 'cooling effects' of Curd Rice. I cleared my throat and picked up the bowl.

"Sindu, darling, why don't you take a few mouthful of this Curd Rice? Just for Dad's sake, dear. If you don't, your Mom will shout at me."

I could sense my wife's scowl behind my back. Sindu softened a bit and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. "OK, Dad. I will eat not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should..." Sindu hesitated. "Dad, if I eat this entire Curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?" "Oh sure, darling."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine and clinched the deal.

"Ask Mom also to give a similar promise," my daughter insisted. My wife slapped her hand on Sindu's muttering "Promise," without any emotion.

Now I became a bit anxious. "Sindu, you shouldn't insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items. Dad does not have that kind of money right now. OK?"

"No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive."

Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity. I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child to eat something that she detested.

After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation. All of our attention was on her.

"Dad, I want to have my head shaved off this Sunday," was her demand!

"Atrocious!" shouted my wife, "a girl child having her head shaved off? Impossible!"

"Never in our family!" my mother rasped. "She has been watching too much of television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!"

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