June 13, 2009

Of Stainless Steel Spice Holders

There is nothing overtly special about this day. It is just another Saturday, the day of the week that goes fastest, and she is back to her domain, the kitchen, aromas sashaying their way out of the open windows, mustard and asafetida, curry leaves and green chillies chopped fine, like little green nose rings.

She fastens the lid on the pressure cooker, split beans soaked with tomatoes, garlic and onions simmering. She remembers the turmeric, forgotten in its container, straining to remind her that it belongs inside the cooked too.

It catches her attention then. Sitting camouflaged amidst other vessels with lids. Stainless steel, glistening through the smudges that her fingers have left on it. Lid shut tight in place. She falters for a second and then reaches out for the turmeric. It goes right into the vessel and she turns again to the vessel that caught her attention. Five spices. They used it with careless abandon in her part of the world.

She hasn't used it even once here, not knowing how the unfamiliar tastes will be welcomed in this house, her house now...it was a foreign taste here. Not on her tongue though. On her tongue, it tastes like home. Mud and rain and sandal paste and jasmines. Her home. She reaches out to the vessel. It almost seems to leap into her hand, overjoyed after this long spell of inattention.

She cradles it in her hands, kissing it gently and opening the lid. The fragrance wafts into her nostrils and she takes it all in, the heady feeling of nostalgia hitting her hard. She flinches at the tears that seep onto her lips. She takes a pinch of the five spice and tosses it into the vessel. The split bean sizzles and crackles with new life. She shuts the lid.

An hour later when they sit at the table and she ladles out spoonfuls of the lentil soup to his plate, and he digs in, she looks for a reaction. There is none. He is perfectly at home with the taste. She settles into her chair and puts a ball of rice mixed with the lentils into her mouth. It is the first time she has appetite for something her hands have made.

7 comments:

the pink bluey.. said...

hmm...we too have appetite for something u made...lol...

solitarywhite said...

yummmm....

invite me also na to eat

Shaz said...

Reema, some lines here just shine:

On her tongue, it tastes like home. Mud and rain and sandal paste and jasmines. Her home.

The split bean sizzles and crackles with new life.

It is the first time she has appetite for something her hands have made.

This is powerful prose. Like a salvo, it fills you with a punch and light.

chittz said...

Simple, and yet so evocative. The details you add, add so much of texture to this piece.

Scent, is of course, the most powerful scent of memory.

Keep writing.

Mad angel said...

This is so you...so totally you! how come I havent been invited for dinner yet?

The Wandering Minstrel said...

@Pru & SolitaryWhite: Come Home, Will Cook.

@Shaz: I told you cooking can be therapeutic.

@Chittz: You seem familiar...hmm...nice blog I must say, added you to my roll so i will keep dropping by. Thanks for visiting, keep coming back.

@MadAngel: You too, come home, will cook!

Ramya Ranee said...

After reading the other one, I had to come back and re-read this post.

I really don't understand now why I said the two sound similar. The other one was despair and this is hope and joy and all things wonderful!

But I love both, so it's all good :)