Yesterday I answered a few questions for Laurie about incense – she has written a lovely post on her site about how incense affects moods, spaces – and I couldn’t help recalling what fun we used to have when Vidur was a baby – with the saambraani (frankincense). We’d get pieces of coal from the dhobi, who used coal in his press for ironing clothes. We had a big earthenware bowl in which we’d lay the coals and light them. When they glowed, we would sprinkle the small pieces of sambraani on the coal to produce thick fragrant smoke, quite like an aphrodisiac. Our baby Vidur, after a long, long, long bath – would enjoy the ambience, snugly wrapped in towels. With a basket covering the incense, we’d hold him over it for a few seconds, drying his hair and all his other creases. Then we would spread his towel – clothes over the basket to dry. Once dry, everything would smell wonderful.
One such time, Vidur had just finished his bath and just as Mom came out of the bath holding him, the doorbell rang. It was Surekha, our maid. She walked in, coochie cooing to Vidur who started gurgling at her. She grabbed him from Mom and said “Mai usko sambrani dikhaati” (I’ll hold him over the sambrani). And still talking to Vidur, she gently took off the towels wrapping him and holding him firmly rocked him over the sambrani. Our hero perked up, and sure enough, there was a stream dousing the sambrani. She playfully scolded him and took him again to the bathroom to wash him :-). It was so funny – the sudden sputter and crackle of the sambrani pot!! And we were wondering what had happened. Oh well – I had to dump it and get a fresh one going – but we all ended up laughing so much and it was fun. I’ve got a picture of Surekha – which reminds me – I ought to scan all those photos. Hmm. What wonderful memories.
Weirdest thing – remember the dozens of sambrani sticks Kondu mama got for us? – I still have a stick left for memories sake. I also have the broken stand he got with it. Dumb, I know. But what the heck. It is just like keeping a pinch of the pepper-jeera powder you made. Still, I really miss the fenugreek podi – our own favorite antibiotic.
Oh, by the way, as usual we realized that it was Hanuman Jayanti the day after – so it was yesterday. 🙂 If you were here, you would have immediately said – “Hey, its Tuesday, so let us….(vadai maalai? thair sadam? chakra pongal?)”. Net result? Yummies. I’ll just make do with fruit. Time is flying.