Sunday, February 21, 2016

Old is Gold

You are living your life in the most ordinary and normal manner and then comes a moment out of the blue which makes it special, curves your lips in a smile, makes others wonder what you are up to. It can be as simple as listening to a song after ages or someone addressing you with a name you haven’t been called by in a long time. Something of that sort happened to me yesterday while I was crushing fresh cardamom the same way my great grandmothers used to do it. The moment was as if my heart was singing a happy jingle. I was standing in the kitchen of my childhood home. The atmosphere of my mom and grandmother doing their daily chores, then calling me out for a little help. Tasks like peeling off the cardamom, crushing it, crushing black pepper seeds, fetching curry leaves from the backyard, peeling off garlic, grating the carrots for a sweet halwa, peeling off the roasted brinjal were always my duties. I performed all these errands with amazing amount of joy! It made me feel like I was an adult of the house. Other things included, eating one or two basil (tulas) leaves daily for good health, soaking the carrot ends in water and waiting till a leaf sprouts from it, dropping in to my aunts balcony to check over her green chilli and mint plant, watching my granny cut one kilo of lemons for the sudharas (lemon and sugar sweet syrup) to slurp with the rotis, sorting out the pumpkin seeds to cook and relish later and so many many more innumerable memories! Also there was a crow who was a regular in our kitchen, my grandfather used to feed it chapattis or biscuits and it would catch the flying (falling) food in its beak. It was a sight never to be missed. Nowadays life is so easy due to mixers, blenders, food processors and ovens! There were mixers in certain homes back the but it was believed that using a mixer is a more tedious process (LOL). Without instant soups and pastes or without shortcuts like maggi, those were the days when a whole meal was cooked every single day. It was consumed while everyone sat on the cool stone tile flooring. Everyone ate together and it was the best time of my life. Even when I visit my parents today, my mom never fails to make all the lovely chutneys, koshimbirs (salads and raitas), pickles and sweets I love because she is sure that I might not be making them in my own house. But today I made a promise to myself while writing this post that I will continue to make all that even today and never let the recipes and mannerisms of the women of my house slip away. We leave behind so much and at some sudden moment it all comes back like it was just yesterday!

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