Happenings. Sounds a lot like extra-terrestrial sightings, right? Well, almost. Let me begin with the pleasanter things that I am now taking for granted. That heart when I pour water on the coffee powder in the filter. The moment I think of you, there it […]
Memories from another day . . .
I am on a chutney rampage, Mi. With all the hospital visits, I have to keep the chutneys, podis and gotsus in the fridge, at the ready when we need a quick meal. Having these makes it easier to whip up that one-dish, either with the millet flakes or good ol’ rice.
You can see that I am taking the fail to plan, plan to fail advice very seriously, eh?
Also, cooking is therapeutic and the kitchen has become my happy place. Perhaps because I feel your presence there more intensely.
This time I was clever, and fried and ground the dals and chillies so that I could grind a bunch of coriander/curry leaves/mint/coconut/ridge-gourd–or whatever took my fancy with two tablespoons of the base. It really is convenient!
Did I tell you that I’ve reduced my coffee intake since some months? Mostly because of the time spent outside and not wanting to indulge in bad cafeteria coffees. I hope it did me good.
In the meantime, I had that craving for paruppusili and made it with cluster beans. Turned out so delicious that I got another batch of cluster beans and want to make it again. I realize how healthily we ate–good ol’ south Indian tambrahm meals!
These days I really enjoy cooking and think of you all the time I am in the kitchen busy talking to you in my head. When I knead the dough for roti, I think of how you would have thought it has turned out perfectly. When I clear up the kitchen sink in the afternoon, I think of those days when we used to do it together-one of us scrubbing while the other washed it all up. Remember those days when we had first moved to Sec’bad and had a water scarcity, and used to store water? What fun it was.
Making the cluster beans also reminded me of those days when we bought kilos of it and would pressure cook it. I used to love eating the steamed beans. Gosh, that reminds me of that day when I had to stay home from school and mama and you had gone to work. I remember eating a whole pack of Monaco biscuits and feeling guilty.
While making the chutneys, I remembered our houseowner there, whose lunch we were fascinated with, the first time we met them. Oh, the chutneys and pickles and ghee and hot rice. I am drooling just thinking about it.
By the way, there’s news. Got a call. Feels a bit odd because we’ve been out of touch for some years now…can you believe it? Then suddenly out of the blue, this. Let’s see how that goes.
Even mama does not call any more. You’ll probably ask, why don’t I? I do, occasionally, only to be chided for how I’ve “changed” and “don’t call anymore” conveniently forgetting that I am the only one that calls now. I am not keeping score, but I can’t help feeling hurt. Imagine me asking them the same question–could I ever get away with it? Anyway, I am not letting myself be dragged down by this–there’s no point mulling over it even. Except, once in a while I wish you were around so I could rant. Ah well, I do that anyway. Safest, no?
By the way, Mi, remember I told you about my mini-forced shopping during Navratri? So those Kalamkari blouses were one size larger than I wanted. I had suspected it, but thought I could manage. But then I thought why not see if the next size would be right since the shop guy urged me to exchange it if it didn’t fit. Also, imagine passing up a chance to walk down that street. The next day, I went back, exchanged the blouses and bought one more in silk cotton with an ikkat print. Oh, it looked so gorgeous and I happily walked back home, bag in hand, fantasizing about which sarees to match with the blouses, because ya know, kalamkari is so versatile. And I was thinking of all the plain chiffons, the handloom sarees, and oh, I reached home before the fantasy ended.
So imagine my disgust when I found that the blouses had been tagged the wrong size! Arrgh. And the lovely silk? The sleeves were too short for my liking. I am just not a fan of wearing those super-tight tiny sleeves. I packed up the blouses, intending to go to the shop the next day but the rains prevented me from stepping out. Two days later, I overcame the ennui and headed out again. This time the fella at the counter acted smart. Can you imagine—he wouldn’t accept that the blouses had the wrong tag in spite of proving it to him with his tape. You know how they hold out the material as if it can magically fit a sumo wrestler’s girth? Bah!
Now I was stuck and feeling stupid about adding an additional blouse to my exchange woes. I managed to find the blouses I returned and added one more since the guy wouldn’t refund. I trudged back home, soon cheering up, thinking that it is better to run an extra stitch to make the blouses fit than burst out of them.
Can’t say they are prêt-à-porter just yet, though because I have to alter them.
I am giggling thinking of another day, Mi, when I was 14 and alone at home. You and Mama had gone to work and Paati was in Bombay for her annual visit. It was summer vacation and I pretty much spent the day by myself at home, tackling chores and entertaining myself. During one of those times, I saw a cute blouse in a magazine—one of those v-necked things that tied at the midriff. I enthusiastically chose one of my kurtas—that red one with the little dots—and got to work. By the time you came home, my blouse was ready and I had visions of pairing it with that black and white checked wraparound skirt. I still remember the look on your face when you walked in and saw me sitting and working on my DIY blouse with the bits of fabric strewn around me. Of course, your initial reaction was one of wonder and curiosity, until you realized which kurta I was working on! You had recently stitched it for me with that cute applique of a swan in front. But I admire you for getting over your annoyance quickly and appreciating the fact that I had actually produced a wearable garment! he he.
How funny it is that we also realized I had a knack for alterations!
I will miss you so much when I sit and work on the blouses, you know, but I’ll pretend you are here, laughing, egging me on and offering me endless cups of coffee.