Nova’s Tales: Series of short stories about a school kid who is notorious and troubles everyone around him. In this story, Nova helps his mom in making a cake for his friends.
It was 12 past noon and Coco was not able to decide what should be prepared for afternoon lunch. Standing in the kitchen, cleaning some vegetables, “I am too bored to cook anything. I will simply fry some vegetables and it would suffice.”
“But I want to eat something good and delicious.” Nova shouted who was standing right behind his mother.
“You scared me. Whenever you come home, first say ‘I am back’.”
“I am back,” rhymes Nova. “Do the tango.” He moved his body in a tango position.
“Why can’t you behave humanly?”
“Mom-Mom, can you make a cake, please?”
“What has got into you?”
“Cake! Not pan-cake, mom—the real cake. Can you make it?”
“Of course, I can make it.”
Sitting at the dining table, she looks into her cookery book to find how a cake is made. It was concluded that the book could share a recipe for a strawberry cake.
“But you haven’t made it in all this time.”
Eating a croissant and reading from the recipe, “Buying a cake is much cheaper than cooking one at home. And if I make a whole cake, no one will be able to finish it in time. Thus, some portions of the cake will be wasted. ”
“I am there. I will not let it be wasted. Rocco’s mom made a delicious cake yesterday. Elvis’ mom also makes it often. Now I want to eat a cake made by you. Will I never get to eat a cake made especially by my beautiful and kind mom?” batting his eyes.
“Hmmmm.” She said having a bite of her croissant.
“What is ‘hmmmm’? Why aren’t you listening to me?” She takes another bite from her croissant. In between her bites she utters, “They must be having a lot of time so they can afford to invest some in cake-making. But I stay busy a lot.”
“I don’t think so, mom.” Nova was staring at her with accusing eyes.
“I am resting right now. Morning till evening, I have to do loads of work. I don’t have the time to make a cake. I hope you understood.” Raising her voice, she conveyed her message. She turned her back and took another bite. She murmured, “He wants to eat a cake.”
“What I think is you don’t know how to bake a cake.”
“I can bake a cake.” She said while chewing her bite.
“Then bake it, mom. Today, my friends will come to eat the cake you’ll make.”
She spilled the drink she was having and shouted, “Why did you decide it all by yourself? What time are they coming?”
She reacted as the table clock already showed 2.10 pm. She ran out of the house with some money to the market. Taking the necessities with her, she ran back home as fast as she could.
She started with the preparations, firstly beating eggs as fast as humanly possible.
“Why is your face looking so weird?” She continued beating the contents in the bowl.
“My back is going to ache a lot later.” She murmured to herself and realized that she had stopped beating, “Oh no.” Her hand started the circular motions again.
“Mom, why are you so angry while making this cake?” She kept on beating the content.
“I think this must be enough,” she said panting a little. “Alright, now I’ll add some all-purpose flour. How much do I have to add?” she murmured and checked her book. She added some flour, “I think this must be enough.” She checks her book again, “Shit. I forgot to scrape the flour.”
Looking at the batter, “It is okay. It should not be a problem.”
“No problem? I think you should do it again.”
“Not needed. It won’t make much a difference.”
“I am getting very concerned, mom.”
“Don’t worry. It should be edible. I forgot — I have to pre-heat the oven. Alright Nova, you do the beating now.”
“Wow…Wow” He starts beating it slowly with too much of efforts.
She opens a drawer and finds the manual for using an oven. “I have never used the oven before.” Kneeling in front of the oven, “Let’s see what’s written here. To bake a cake, pre-heat the oven to 1800. Now, where is the temperature knob?”
Nova was beating the flour as fast as possible for him. He stopped and took a taste of the cake flour with his finger.
“Huh!” Licking his finger, “Oh! Mom…Mom.”
“Can’t you see I am busy, Nova?”
“This is not at all sweet.”
“Grrhh! Did you put your finger in the batter?”
“Just to taste it. This batter should be sweet, right?”
“What are you saying? Of course, this should be sweet.” She notices the jar filled with measured sugar crystals. She had forgotten to add the sugar in the batter.
“What is this,” Nova asked pointing at the jar she held.
“Now we will add sugar in this.” She pours the jar empty.
“You forgot to add sugar,” teasing her.
“No ways. Now start mixing the batter.” He starts mixing the batter again. Once done, she puts the batter in the pre-heated oven and lets it stay.
“Within few minutes, the cake will be ready.”
“What is this, mom? Va-ni-lla” Nova had found a bottle on the counter near the window. She snatches the bottle and rushes to the oven to add the vanilla essence in the batter. She added few drops, stirred it and closed the oven door again.
“Thank God.” She puts the bottle back on the dining table.
“It smells so nice.” Nova said sniffing the bottle. “What is it?”
“It is vanilla essence. It is added in the cake for good fragrance.” She started cleaning the used vessels.
“So you forgot to add this even?” She purposely started cleaning the vessels forcefully. Nova didn’t say another word and continued sniffing the smell.
He rushed out to the TV area and stopped where Lola was playing with her toys. He sniffed again and appreciated its fragrance.
“It smells so nice. Now I smell like the cake. I have become tasty like my cake also. My smell is so much better.”
Lola makes some sound. “Lola, do you also want to apply this perfume and smell good like me?”
He poured some on her head, “Take more.” She smiled and enjoyed the smell though she would have barely understood anything.
“Whenever I go out, I’ll perfume this on me.” He said while sprinkling some on the flour. Coco grabbed his t-shirt and pulled him up, “What are you doing?” She took the bottle from his hand, “You emptied the whole bottle.”
“I apologize for finishing it and not saving some for you. Can we now go and make the cake?”
The table clock showed quarter to 3.00 pm. “Oh no, it is almost 3.”
His friends knock the door at the very same time. She opens it and they greet her, “Hello, Aunty. Nova told us that you are an expert in making cakes,” said Rocco. Elvis added, “We have come here to eat the cake.” Finn continued, “Wow, the cake smells nice.”
Coco laughs politely and says, “Maybe it isn’t that great as it smells.” Nova intervenes, “Actually, the cake is not ready yet.”
“I thought why not make it in presence of you all.” Shutting Nova’s mouth with her palm.
They assembled in the kitchen and observed her working on the cake. She had cut the cake in half from the middle.
“We will now decorate the sponge cake.”
Nova with his finger presses one portion of the cake and comments, “This looks more like a clay cake than a sponge cake. Isn’t it right?”
“Home-made cakes are like these.” Coughing once as a sign to grab attention, she continued, “We will make a strawberry cake today.” They were sitting in the TV room surrounding a table. All the kids were observing her from the other side of the table.
Demonstrating how to apply cream over the cake, she applied a layer. “That’s it,” she applied the layer thoroughly. All kids sung in chores, “Wow.”
“Now we will add some strawberries.” She searched everywhere, “Where did the strawberries go?”
At one corner of the room, Lola was eating the strawberries from its basket.
“Lola,” Coco grabbed the bucket and found out that only few pieces were left. The moment she kept the basket on the table, Nova grabbed one and said, “This strawberry is so sweet.”
“Why did you eat it?” Coca shouted from the corner where she was tending to Lola.
“Oh no.” everyone said.
She got settled in her place and continued decorating the cake, “Now we will do some make-up on the cake with whipped cream to beautify it.”
“It is a piece of cake for you, mom.” Nova said teasing her as she is very much into make-up.
“Now let’s decorate it.” She makes flowers on the cake. Kids clapped as she dropped some cream on the cake representing a flower (Though it looked nothing like one).
“I will also do it—I will also do it.” Nova excitedly said while flapping his hands in wing-like manner. He tried snatching the icing bag, but she held it. In an effort to release it from her grip, he pressed the bag and all the icing dropped on the cake.
“Why isn’t it coming out properly?” He tried pressing it. The moment he directed the nozzle towards her and pressed, the icing flew on her face. He turned the nozzle in his friends’ direction and the icing landed on them too.
After minutes, Coco declares “The strawberry cake is ready.” Everyone claps in appreciation.
“But it doesn’t look that great.”
“This is all because of you.” She rubs her palm on his head in frustration.
Elvis breaks in hesitantly, “Aunty, the taste of the cake should be good. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look great.”
“Yes, you are right. Of course.” She exclaimed nervously.
The cake was served and they all were ready to take a bite, “Let’s start.” Together they ate the first bite and their expressions said the same story. Elvis said first, “It is tasty.”
“Really? I am so glad.” Coco expressed her feeling.
“But cakes from cake-shops are much better than this.” Nova commented munching his cake. Elvis replied with mouthful of cake, “Because they are professionals.” Rocco added, “They take money even.” Finn continued while chewing, “The shop near the station adds more strawberries even. This cake has too little.” Everyone nods.
Elvis recovers and says, “Aunty has made a tasty cake too.” Everyone makes the sound of enjoying the flavour of the cake.
“Looks like they did not like it.” Coco concludes it to herself.
Moral of the Story: If you know you can’t do it. Don’t do it (without the guidance from someone who knows it well).
Tip: Don’t always do what your child asks you to. Think wisely before agreeing.