Once upon a time, in a quiet house, across the street from our house, lived an unsmiling family – the family of Guptaji.
Mr Gupta would leave for office, looking tired, even in the morning, as if he had the weight of the world on his back.
Mrs Gupta would always be complaining about slogging behind the stove and no one in the family appreciating her efforts.
Their two children went to school with their heads down, not smiling, and came back the same way.
We went for a family vacation for a couple of weeks. When we came back, we felt as if we had returned to the wrong house. Not that there was anything wrong with our cozy Home Sweet Home, but the family of Guptaji had transformed.
There was sound of soothing music and loud laughter coming from their house. Guptaji had a twinkle in his eye. He would leave for office looking relaxed and refreshed, smiling and greeting anyone he came across.
Mrs Gupta was talking positive. She kept saying how good life was and how she was thinking about resuming her hobby of painting that she hadn’t had time for since many years.
And the two Gupta children were smiling and playing with the other kids. They would go to school hopping energetically and come back the same way.
The whole neighbourhood was whispering trying to figure out the reason for the change. Each one of us was claiming to be Sherlock for a few days coming up with any reason we could think of. And since we were claiming to be Sherlock, everyone seemed to be using their imaginations to the weirdest.
May be some aliens assumed the look of our old neighbours, killed them and taken their place.
May be they had been bit by some mutated spiders / mosquitoes.
Or more conservatively, they had attended some Workshop that had changed their Way of Living.
I couldn’t take this insult to the name of Sherlock Holmes any longer. I decided to drop in on the Gupta home unannounced. It was still morning, but once I had made my decision I couldn’t wait any longer.
Mrs Gupta opened the door, all smiling and bubbly. I glanced past her at the rest of her family sitting having their breakfast. I don’t think the word breakfast describes the array of dishes on the dining table though.
“Oh, your are having Nashta” I said.
Mrs Gupta asked me to join and I did willingly. My plan was to get them to reveal the secret of their happiness and for that I would need to spend more time with them.
Or that is what I told myself. The fact that the variety of food on the table was too tempting to resist was just a coincidence.
Was the secret behind the change in this family a new cook?
Apparently not. The change was the discovery Mrs Gupta had made of the many recipes using Kellogg's Cornflakes.
I had Cornflakes Chana Chaat, Apple Cornflakes Pancakes, Cornflake Walnut Chocolate Muffin and ended it with a Cornflakes Date Shake.
The family was having healthy, tasty food for Breakfast, thanks to the variety of dishes Mrs Gupta had been cooking.
Mrs Gupta was happy because her time in the kitchen had reduced and the appreciation she received by her family had increased.
The secret was so simple and yet, so profound.
Everyone in the neighbourhood is vying to get an invitation for to Guptaji's place for nashta now. And I want to go again and again. Breakfast was never so good.