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.