Getting there

When I was about 13 years old, my aunt had just finished her degree and came to stay with us doing the summer holidays,while her family was looking for a “suitable boy”.. Amma enrolled her in an Institute named Trupti. I don’t know if you can name Trupti as an institute. It was the Kottayam version of  a finishing school. It was located en route to the children’s library, past the Thirunakkara temple. Sometimes my aunt would take me with her because she didn’t want to walk alone and I waited for her at the library and on a good day, she might even buy me Lassi from the Milk shop next to the musical instruments shop. My aunt was very condescending and treated me as though I was without a brain. And being a teenager, that was the last thing I wanted. But the trip allowed me an escape from home, plus Lassi and library. I couldn’t resist!

Part of the lessons at the institute was cooking and one day, she was taught how to make Coconut Barfi. I remember how excited I was, when my aunt offered to make coconut barfi for all of us. It was a long process. First we had to scrape coconut very carefully, so no brown colour stuff got mixed in the coconut.

The goodness of the Barfi was directly proportional to how white it was ! Her Instructor was very particular about that.

Then we had to dry the coconut for a day in the hot sun. The next day, I had to grind sugar in to a fine powder. Amma had a Braun grinder and I measured one cup of sugar, as per the recipe and pressed the start button. What I didn’t know was that the volume of powdered sugar is much bigger than 1 cup of raw sugar. Almost quarter of the sugar fell down, when I opened the lid. More was lost when I (stupidly) took out the blade and then removed the grinder from the base. If my aunt was condescending before this drama, you could imagine the grief she gave me after! She and amma joined together and insulted me a lot.

I felt everyone makes mistakes in their life and I didn’t deliberately choose to waste the sugar. I didn’t eat the coconut barfi that day because I was so mad.

Last Saturday, I was at the basket ball game with my youngest and as usual was texting Yaya. I often tell her that she is the best daughter a mother could ever have, for which she will always reply, ” I know I am” and then we go back and forth about why Gasconade isn’t very good !  Then I asked her if she would cook lunch as by the time I got back home, I will only have about 20 minutes before taking my son for his Basketball game. She didn’t reply. Conveniently evaded the topic. So I thought. But then again, she was on her way home after work and I shouldn’t have asked her to cook.

I wasn’t expecting her to cook and was shocked to see her in the kitchen when I got back. This is how the kitchen looked.

My blender had tomato puree all over. ( This is the blender, that is 4 years old and still look brand new. part of my OCD is the obsession to keep my kitchen gadgets really clean!!) All three of my cutting boards were out, so were the knives, peeler and the can opener. My peeler is 20 years old. I always wash it right after using it, so it lasted this long. The sink was empty when I left in the morning and now had more bowls than what I would have, when I had 20 friends over for a meal.

“What are you cooking?” I asked her.

“Mexican rice” She told me.

“Smells really good” I told her.

“Mom,Sorry about the blender, it over flowed”  She said.

I helped her to clean the blender ( and the bowls, knives, peeler etc). My blender still has a reddish hue. but it is just a blender. In a few years, Yaya will leave home and each time I use my blender, I will remember her making Mexican rice. I also know that eventually Yaya will learn to use the blender correctly, like I did.

We had Mexican rice and spicy tomato and green chilli salsa for lunch. It was really good.


5 thoughts on “Getting there

  1. Sarah,im currently reading this book aptly titled “My mother my self” by Nancy Friday,its a descriptive book about how our first relations in life from our mother affect everything in our lives..have u read it?im finding it helpful to learn some ideas on educating my daughter to be an individual 🙂

    • Santhia” I haven’t read the book. My goal in life is “not ever be anything like my mother was to me” I can’t undo the damage she inflicted on me, but I can ensure that I won’t inflict the same damage on to my children.

  2. That is so sweet, mexican rice sounds yummy.
    My mom used to celebrate all my failures, still do. She used to show off my failed cooking experiments to the neighbours, have a good laugh and its folklore within the family.

    • Phoenix: I am an exceptionally good cook. One Christmas, Malaysian local paper had Christmas recipes from various countries and one was stollen. I had read about Dresden Stollenfest and thought I would make it as a surprise for my Scandinavian brothers in law. The author of the recipe was an idiot and the recipe was a disaster. I cooked a massive feast and only the stollen failed. My mother who never cooked a decent meal in her life still talks about how horrible my stollen was!

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