Having mother come over and stay with you sends the bells ringing in the ear. For me it was like “Happy days are here again, thumbs up”, kind of feeling.
The younger one is tied to Granny’s apron string for most of the day when she visits us. Come night, the elder one, though sixteen now, is eager to hear the stories from Granny. All the tales that she has are from “Puranas”, yet the children are drawn to it like the magnet. She is their buddy and laughter springs out of the children’s bedroom when she is around. What a respite from the usual fights and cries that fill the air!
One of the best draw of her visit is yummy delicacies for breakfast. Needless to say, I am more than happy to play the second fiddle to her in the kitchen. She assumes the role of the Master chef and never requires an assistant!
One day, she declared that she was going to make “Kola che pohe” (puffed rice soaked in concoction of coconut milk, tamarind paste and jaggery, tempered with seasoning of green chilly). A day before, we visited a nearby super mart for our supply of coconut milk and ready made tamarind paste. I was amazed to see her new avatar adopting to technological advances in the field of food. “This lady always give me goals”, I reiterated to myself!
I remembered the days when she would toil in the kitchen and make coconut milk from the freshly grated coconut. Coconut was not easily available in those days at Yavatmal, my native place. When available, she would make the most of it by scrapping it to the extent of making it bald!
Next day, while enjoying the breakfast, children demanded extra servings of the fancy dish. I had to caution the children as nothing would be left for rest of us to relish. I got a reprimanded from her for doing so, much to the amusement of children!
It was our turn to have a fill. The sweet, tangy with the hint of green chilly taste of the dish made me forget about the surroundings. When I looked up, I saw my mother’s eyes filled up to the brim. I thought, she had accidentally eaten the chilly. When I offered her the glass of water, she seeped some and smiled. I could sense that this was not the chilly effect. I kept staring at her, not knowing what to do.
Clearing her throat, she said, “My mother made the best ‘Kola che pohe’, I ever had eaten.It used to be a laborious work in those days. She had to use ‘Pata-varavanta’* for making coconut milk. The happiness that exuded from her face, without fail and round the clock, masked all the hardships. Now that the coconut milk is available in tetra packs and the tamarind paste is available off the shelf, life is quite easy. But I still miss that taste. I think it was her love which seeped through the hardships. It must be that magic missing ingredient”. She stopped speaking and was lost in her memory.
“For us that magic ingredient is your love”, I added to the conversation and couldn’t resist giving her a hug. I saw smile returning to her face like the rainbow in the sky. It was the prettiest sight that I have preserved in my heart.
Coincidentally it was “Mother’s Day”!
*Pata Varvanta – Also known as Sil- Batta, in Hindi, Ammi and Kulavi in Tamil is a traditional Indian style stone Mortar and Pestle used in Indian kitchen for crushing, grinding ingredients such as spices, nuts etc. as well as for making pastes, chutney
Linking this post to #FlavoursomeTuesday Sunita Rajwade of MumbaiOnAHigh and Shilpa Gupte of Metanoia