Fast Food, the Last Food

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This is a story of a fast-food lover. The hero of the story is a child named Raj.

Fast food was a weak point of Raj. Chips, noodles, pizza, burgers, chocolates, ice-creams, cold drinks, Pani-puri, Bhel-puri, Manchurian, Chinese eatables like lollipops, and chilli were some of his favorite dishes. Raj was very much fond of this kind of junk food. He felt that the only food everywhere in this world should be fast food and fast food alone … in and around his home, on both the sides of roads, at the school gate and even inside the school, during the recesses and even in the classes. The parents of Raj would always warn him that fast food is tasty but it should be enjoyed only occasionally, as it is not good for health. However, Raj would demand it forcefully and his parents were unable to control him. If his parents said no, he would start crying loudly. The other day his father said, “See Raj, you are a good boy. You have some good qualities. You are good at studies and also you are a very good football player. We like these qualities, but we are worried about your bad habit of demanding fast food always.” Raj heard it and ignored it.

Truly, Raj had some very good qualities. He was the captain and goal-keeper of his school’s football team. Under his captaincy, the school had won the ‘Inter-school Football Championship’ continuously for the last two years. And they were on a hat-trick this year. Raj and his team were sure to win the championship again this year and record the hat-trick. So, they were busy with the game plans and the practice. After the tiring practice sessions on the playground, Raj would rush back home… hungry and dying for some fast food. Due to this habit, Raj was growing fat day by day. His friends would tease him for his fatness. They would call him a ‘FOODBALL’ and ‘GOLU GOAL-KEEPER’. They would also say, “Look, the FOODBALL is playing the football.” Raj would feel very bad, but still he could not get rid of his bad habit.

Once, when his friends were teasing him; he said angrily, “though I am growing fat, I am the goal-keeper; and the goal-keeper doesn’t have to run. So, I can do my role of goal-keeping very well. You need not worry about me. We won the championship for the last two years, only because I saved a number of goals. This year also, we will repeat the history.” His friends laughed at his overconfidence.

Finally, the tournament started. The team of Raj went on winning the first round matches one by one and entered the semi-final round. After and during every match, Raj would enjoy some spicy food in the school canteen. His mother would give him a healthy diet in his lunchbox. However, Raj would give his meal to his friends and he would sneak off to the canteen to enjoy some alluring snacks. Sometimes he suffered from stomach pains but ignored it.

The semi-final match was a tough test for the boys. After the equal score of 2-2 goals, the match was pulled to ‘extra time’. The team of Raj had to defend the terrific attack of the opposite team in the extra time. Still, in a nail-biting finish they managed to win somehow by 3-2 goals. That was really an alarm for Raj and his team to play cautiously in the final match.

In the evening, Raj shared the thrill of the semi-final match to his parents and said, “Mom and Papa, I’ve been eating the meals that you give me in the lunchbox everyday. Today, I have won the semi-final match, so now… now you have to take me to my favorite Chinese restaurant.” Mom and Papa were speechless. They satisfied his wish. Raj kept devouring the starters, the sizzlers, the burgers and what not… without bothering for what would happen the next day in the final match. And the same happened, as it happens after over-eating the fast food. Raj had stomach pains at midnight. He kept tossing on the bed the whole night but did not tell anything about it to his Mom and Papa. He simply dared not telling. Somehow, he got ready in the morning and reached the stadium. All the team players were bubbling out with enthusiasm …except Raj.

The stadium was densely packed with spectators. All waited for the final match. The shrill whistle of the referees thrilled the air. The ball was kicked off high in the sky and… the final match started. The players moved with a lightening speed to get the possession of the ball.
Raj was trying to concentrate on the match, though he wasn’t feeling well. Both the teams were trying hard to attack the goal post of the opposite team. Their efforts continued for first 25 minutes without having any goals scored. But, just before the first half… there was a piercing attack on the goal post of Raj … just like a thunderstorm.

Controlling his pains and using all his skills, Raj dived to his right and oh … … the goal was hardly saved. Raj’s schoolmates gave out a sigh of relief. The first half was over with no goals scored from both the sides.

During the half-time break, the coaches cheered up the boys. The teams were ready for the second half. At the whistle, the match restarted. The recharged players from Raj’s team breached the defence of the opposite team, attacked their goal post and… in a quick wink of moment the first goal was scored. Raj was very happy, though his stomach pains had made him quite dull and pale by now. The opposite team bounced back in the game and chased the ball like a cat chases a rat. The defenders tried their best to stop the attack but it was too late. They had reached very close to Raj. The ball was kicked fast. Raj desperately dived to his left but he fell short by a few inches and the goal was scored. The dive made Raj twist his body and the pains became severe. Now it was too painful for Raj to overcome his pains. The opposite team was excited like anything, as it was 1-1 equal score. They again and again tried to get close to Raj’s goal post. In the last ten minutes of the game, both the teams employed the best possible tactics to take lead, but no team succeeded.

The referees whistled, as the time was up. Every player knew that the game was extended to the extra time. The spectators were on their toes to see, who wins the match. During the extra time the teams made every possible effort to take the lead and score the winning goal but in vain. The extra time too ended with a 1-1 tie.

Now the tie-breaker, the ‘sudden death’ was to be played. Raj was tired and due to severe pains his legs were shivering. Again the coaches from both the sides inspired and instructed the players and the sudden death started. … Both the teams had five opportunities to score the goals. Raj’s team made the first attempt, but the goal was not scored. Raj prepared himself to safeguard his goal post. But fortunately, the player from the opposite team was under pressure and he kicked over the goal post. The goal was saved. Again there was 1-1 tie. However, in the next two turns the goals were scored from both the sides and it was 3-3 tie now. There was only one opportunity for both the sides. A very good player from Raj’s team was ready to take his turn. He kicked off the ball…and oh my my!!! …the ball hit the upper part of the goal bar and returned … with no goal at all. … There was terrible silence in the stadium. Now it was an acid test for Raj… high time to display his merit … while he was shivering with the stomach pains. Raj could hardly stand over there. The captain of the opposite team was there to take the last turn. He took the stance. There was pin-drop silence in the stadium. The next moment only, the captain made a breath taking quick movement; kicked the ball and… in a flash of moment… the stadium witnessed the thrill …. The kick was so powerful that the ball pierced the goal almost invisibly … though the body of Raj was visible … hurled recklessly towards the ball … and falling down … tossing and twisting… The ball had rested in the net … very swiftly …before Raj could do anything. The stadium broke out with huge shouting… the goal was scored… the opposite team had won the match and Raj had lost his battle… due to … the fast food…
…Raj was defeated… the fast food was defeated…

At the prize distribution ceremony Raj saw the captain of the opposite team raising the winners’ trophy. … Raj’s dream of hat-trick was ruined … tears rolled down his cheeks. He remembered the advice of his parents: “The fast food can be enjoyed occasionally and not usually … otherwise … the fast food may prove to be your last food.”

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