|mom's lovely garden|
25/04/15; 8:00 am: My sister and I sit in the little patio in my mother’s house, which looks out to the garden, with its emerald green grass dappled with buttery golden morning sunlight, sipping tea and chatting. Ammumma my grandmother, reads us little snippets of news from the Malayalam paper, which catches her fancy. Amma pops in to ask if she should start making dosas, and it seems to me at that moment that “God is in His heaven All’s right with the world” (Pippa’s song by Robert Browing)
02/05/2015; 11:30 am: I am seated on the wide kitchen counter biting into the sweet yet slightly tart baby mangoes, which my aunt brings for us every summer, from her garden. Our cook, who has been with us for over 30 years, is peeling the mangoes to make a ‘mambazha pulissery’* while chatting with me.He stews the peeled mangoes whole, along with a couple of slit green chillies, a pinch of turmeric which clings to his skin like gold dust and some salt. He then adds a silky paste of freshly grated coconut and some earthy cumin seeds, brings it to a boil and takes it off the heat. Then comes a splash of some whipped homemade yogurt.
He deftly heats up some coconut oil and splutters mustard seeds some dried red chillies and fresh curry leaves from the garden which he pours on top of the curry. I close my eyes and inhale the fragrance which permeates the kitchen as the spice infused oil hits the tangy sweet sauce and completely agree with Harriet Van Horne who said "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
15/0515; 5:00 pm: My son and nephew are engrossed in a game of cricket with their grandparents. You can hear their excited shouts all the way down the street. Someone hits a ‘sixer’ and the ball is tossed out of the compound onto the main street. A lady on the street, whose head the ball missed by a few inches, politely asks my dad if he should really be playing cricket at his age. Amma meanwhile is busy pretending to field, while trying to photograph the boys, who seem to defy gravity, as well as their their mothers'.
Ammumma is trying to coax the tulsi plant not to wither away with water and words in equal measure. I stand apart, etching this scene into my memory, forcing my brain to take in every detail, the neon green cricket ball, the tinkle of ammuma’s bangles as she waters her plants, the look of love glazed with a tinge of pride in achan’s eyes, when one of the boys bowls well, and I want this evening never to end.
20/052015; 9:30 pm: We are all in the bedroom, our little sanctuary from the unrelenting summer heat. The room is cool with a bed big enough for 5 people to lie down quite comfortably. My sister and I are getting our daily soap fix with big bowls of amma’s tender coconut pudding. Ammumma is on one corner of the bed, her fingers busy combing out my sisters hair. The boys are huddled together in another corner of the bed with my father enthralling them with one of his hugely popular stories and amma is blissfully asleep, curled up like a kitten. I look around the room and realize that this is one of those rare moments where I am, exactly where I want to be.
“What would we have been doing there, at this time amma?” asks my son tears threatening to well up in his eyes, barely a day after we have returned from my mother’s place. I hold him close and whisper “we would have been creating memories, one second at a time.”
*mambazha pulissery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dQm52yprNw