So, here’s the thing.
I have ADORED McDonald's French fries. They just taste right. Like French fires should taste, you know. A burger (maybe two), fries and coke. That’s a staple McDonald’s buy for me.
But recently, I had a calamity, a heartbreak.
It all started with one of those futile friend-to-friend conversations.
There we were, perching on the sofa, drinking iced lemonade, talking about the prices of tomatoes escalating up and discussing if there are ways to get a tomato-ketchup-like taste without a tomato. Something that could substitute tomatoes, you know.
Anyway, we both got jaded of a conversation which none of us were smart enough to haul further. So we hunted new topics to chatter about. Then, she proclaimed that the McDonald's people, they’re giving away Spongebob Squarepant toys with every Happy Meal and then she showed a picture of her Spongebob toy.
Let me tell you now. I have loved some cartoons in my life dearly, exceedingly. I still love them like they’re a part of me. One considerable part.
And I have loved Spongebob.
Man. I saw sparks fly when I saw the toy. It was then that I felt love blossoming in my soul and I realized I HAD to get myself ONE toy.
So, Happy Meal, it was decided.
When was the last time I had a Happy Meal, I thought.
Not in ages. I’m a frequent McDonalds’ burger gobbler.
But Happy Meals? Nah. It’s been some years since my body started mounting throughout and its need and greed for more calories became understandable and imperative.
And I couldn’t defy the imperative. I bade goodbye to little burgers, little meals and started with gigantic ones. It was a beautiful transition.
So, the first thing, that night I declared that I just HAD to have McDonalds. Simply HAD to. And fortunately for me, my parents and my brother, everyone, they were all in for the scheme.
No matter how healthy my family pretends to eat, we all lust for cheese and fried food and spices furtively. And we majorly give in to that lust.
That’s us, alright. Huhaha.
We placed the order. My brother and I go for this Maharaja meal all the time. Huge burger, fries, coke and sometimes we order an additional burger.
We have massive appetites, I know.
But this time, I opted for the Happy Meal. You know why.
And I said I’ll have another burger with the meal. Just to be sure I don’t have to rove and rant around with an empty stomach.
“What are you ordering a Happy Meal for?” my brother had rumbled.
“To be happy. Why do you bother?” I retorted back.
“You just want the toy, you’re sad,” he sighed.
“I’m a happier creature than you are.”
So the order was placed.
‘Thank you for calling McDonalds. You will receive your order in 29 minutes approximately from your nearest branch. Your order number is blah-blah-blah.’
Sure enough, a guy arrives punctually with the food delivery.
I am leaping with joy. Thrilled to see what toy awaits me.
And that is when my eyes fell on Little Patrick for the first time.
I felt … amazing. I don't know what else to put there.
The guy put Little Patrick into my hands and there I was, grinning like mad. I had almost snatched Little Patrick from him, now that I think of it.
“Umm… please check your order once ma'm,” the delivery guy says, clearly a little staggered.
“Yes, yes, yes,” I say, but I’m too occupied gaping dotingly at Patrick.
“I’ll check,” my brother shoots a revolted look at me.
I give him this I-seriously-don’t-care-what-you-think- look.
“Umm... I think it’s OK, we’re good,” my brother tells the delivery guy. The guy smiles. My brother pays.
“Hey, wait. We have only one cone of fries. We ordered two meals,” my brother says.
“Uh, yeah, Happy meal doesn’t have fries, you see,” they guy explains.
And then, I realized what I heard. And it knocked me. I put little Patrick down.
“WHAT?” I rush to the delivery guy. I swear he gaped at me like I was some alien or something.
“NO FRIES? NO FRIES IN HAPPY MEALS? Since WHEN?!”
“Since some time,” the guy says. He bears the countenance of a frightened protagonist in a horror movie.
“Listen, I have had Happy meals ever since I was a kid,” I went almost emotional.
I don’t know why I was telling all that to him.
“That’s the point of ordering a meal, isn’t it? A burger, fires and drink. I love the fries there. I’ve never not had fries with a McDonald's dinner. Please. Don’t do this to Happy Meals, please, just do not. I know it's not your say. What to do to Happy Meals. But this is what is happening to the world, you know. We're all in this together. Times are changing and good things are going away. Tomatoes are expensive now in our country, so are onions. How do we cope? How do I cope with everything? Heaven knows I have troubles, my ear phones haven’t been working well enough, I am so peeved.. I….”
And my Daddy steps in. Stops me.
“I can get you fries, Mam,” the guy squeaks at last.
“No, no, no, that would be all. Thank you so much,” my father says. I watch him as he tips the guy extra because of his daughter’s tirade.
I watched the guy limp away hurriedly.
And then, I was all like:
“That’s enough. You’re not getting fries today,” my father hands me Little Patrick. “You have your toy.”
“Whoever said I can’t have my toy AND fries?” I moan. “Why did you send him away? He could get fries.” I know I can be a wretched wimp sometimes.
“Oh god, stop this melodrama. Look, he has fries in his meal, both of you share, no,” my father says, pointing to my brother.
I KNOW BETTER, PAPA. I KNOW BETTER.
Oh, how would you understand, oh naïve father.
How do I put this?
My brother and I, we don’t share food. (Food we both LIKE, of course.)
No, we don’t.
We order a lot of it and we divide it as fairly as we can in the beginning and once it is divided, our portions of food, they’re now to be treated like classified possessions. They are precious; they are not to be given away. We don’t even bother asking each other because most of the times, I know he’ll refuse and he knows I will.
But I decided to give it a shot.
And, it wasn’t a very good experience.
Something like that happened, yes.
Brothers are vile, vicious, vicious, and heartless.
Okay, FINE. I'll say it. In the end, he DID offer me fries. A little of it. But I refused. I was in a state of shock.
That night, I lay on my bed looking at Little Patrick.
Little Patrick stared back at me.
All the love that had ushered into me when I first saw little Patrick, I struggled to bring back the love. It was meaningless. A lot of the love had been drained out somehow.
Little Patrick now stands on my desk as a reminder of how I had my first ever McDonalds dinner without fries.
I inadvertently sold my French-fry-loving soul for a little pink toy. For Little Patrick.
But I do not hate Little Patrick. It’s impossible to hate something with those huge adorable eyes. AWWW.
And that lovely, flabby, cute belly. AWWWWWWWWWW.
I melt when I look at you, you lovely little thing.
But Little Patrick, you DO remind of a cold French-fry-less night.
And it’s not one of my favorite memories.