Amidst making stuffed parathas and binge-watching a show to completion and giving Vidur a haircut and getting groceries, veggies and fruits, I tired myself out, Mi! Just being in the kitchen itself is an exercise in fitness. All that sweating should count for something, no?
You know what I am doing these days? As soon as I buy veggies I note them down in a pad. And I know you will be interested in the pad because this is an old bank pay-in slip book. Why throw it away? One side is perfectly good to make lists and it is the old-fashioned type – the long one. Perfect.
So – listing these veggies and fruits and some other grocery perishables makes it easier for me to manage. Who am I kidding? Makes sure I don’t forget there a veggie tucked away, forgotten, quietly waiting its turn before it wilts and says goodbye cruel world. I know. Guilty!
But really, it helps me plan lunch when I have the list in front of me, rather than bending to peer into the fridge and often hitting my head against that thingy under the top door. Ugh!
While making the aalu parathas yesterday I was reminiscing about Gopmama’s and Manni’s visits when we would have fun planning the cooking and when we made aalu paratha, mama would keep saying “make it like a rajaai”. Do you remember how once, when people kept coming for refills, we ran out of the dough and filling? We ended up eating curd rice because we were too tired to start the process again!
And that memory led to another, decades ago when you were making dosas one day and the batter got over because people lost count of how much they were eating because everyone was busy chatting and laughing! And paati was shocked because the batter had just been ground that day, which meant it was supposed to last for at least four rounds!
As always, the happy memories segue into the shi*t memories of another house where there wouldn’t be enough for us to eat, when we were given the miserable leftovers and expected to clear up after that.
During one of those times, I remember buying a big bar of chocolate for myself and sleeping in the room upstairs. I had collected some bundles of exam answer sheets from you to help you correct and needed fortification. Hence the chocolate. I felt so wicked—over enjoying a bar of chocolate all by myself! How sad, no?
I wonder sometimes, how easy it could have been to break away from those shackles and yet we didn’t. Story of the chained elephant, really. We had the power, the strength, but were afraid to use it. And strangely, even though the key players are no more, the residue still resides within me. Conditioning is a horrible thing in some ways, Mi.
It’s like I still feel guilty if I happen to read a book while having coffee in the morning. How ridic is that? Stupid. But I grew up learning that morning is meant to serious stuff like studying and chores. Sure, I am slowly emerging from those beliefs. But I wonder if I will fully be free from those things.
Odd how some things seem like they’ve changed but stay the same because at our core, change takes a lot longer than we let on.
Like our loved ones always tell us we have to change. What they say and what they mean are two entirely different things, contractions. “Change, but stay the same with me.” Such is life.
And I shall make coffee and ponder.