I stepped into the living room packed with mourning men and women. The air was potently infused with sandalwood incense jabbed into oiled coconut halves left burning from various corners. In the middle of the room, lay my grandmother covered in white soft cotton – still and lifeless. People from everywhere came to pay their last respects – they shed a tear, shared a memory, whispered a prayer and chanted a mantra for the soul’s peace.
Before friendship bands became the ‘coolest’ form of offering your friendship to someone, there was a fad of ‘katti/ batti’ in the early ‘90s. This method was as fast and easy as ABC, and it didn’t require a Friendship Day! If you were mad at someone, you could ‘break’ your friendship with a ‘katti’ (unfriend) instantly; in order to patch up with them, all you had to do was say ‘batti/ buchchi/ abba’ (friend).
Once upon a time, there was a guy named Rahul Khanna (naam toh suna hoga) studying in St. Xavier’s college. One fine day, a girl named Tina Malhotra joined his college, and he immediately went up to her with a ‘friendship band’, extending his hand in friendship. This scene from the movie ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ popularised Friendship Day all over India and the colourful friendship bands became the rage in the late ‘90s.
On my dining table are three glass jars that once contained jam, now they are proud holders of lehsun (garlic), kairi (raw mango), and mirchi (chilli) ke achar. We got them from Lucknow, when we visited my husband’s family last September. Their unique flavours shifts from somewhat pungent to slightly tangy and extremely spicy. At lunch, they scream – what’s your mood today? Pick me! And each one promises to add a unique shift to our desi meals.
Last week at the mall, submerged under a pile of children’s clothes at a kid’s store, I saw a pink skirt which would perfectly fit my 2-year-old princess. I had the exact same one (well, almost) that my uncle had got for me from a trip abroad. The only difference – I was six then and the dress wouldn’t fit me till I was at least eight that was if I ate for three. The one in my hand had an adjusting elastic on the waist (an awesome innovation) – the one in my memory, my granny had to alter…
Comfort I was a bit tense, nervous and excited! The first day of grade 4 began in less than an hour! Outside, the loud pattering of raindrops was frequently interrupted by thunder. I sat on a stool in front of the mirror, staring glum-faced at the reflection of mom combing my hair, getting me ready for school. It was soothing, how she combed the hair. The soft touch of the comb on the scalp as she straightened my hair and pulled it back was comforting. Her soft murmurs of how I should care for my hair more, spend less time…
The chutney in the house is a job that has been solely assigned to the husbandman. And for the twelve years that we have been married, he hasn’t disappointed us even once. By us, I mean me, my friends and our respective families. Friends at dinner parties, look forward to his chutneys. I might have slogged on the snacks for hours together, but the chutney (and its maker) in the house steals the show.
If you are the child of the 80s and if you can hum Doordarshan’s signature tune and recall the colours of the montage; if you remember the Ek chidiya song and sing it too (to probably your kids now!); if you can recall the yellow saree of the Maggi mummy and Lalita ji of Surf fame then you most definitely remember the Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer. Yes! Hamara Bajaj. Bajaj Chetak, the two-wheeler that was a defining characteristic of our childhood and an imminent part of our teen years. Many of us have fond memories of riding the scooter…
In the age of Happy Meals, Combo Food offers and extra cheese pizzas there’s still one repast that tempts us beyond the fast food goodies. If you’re a Punjabi or have accompanied one to the Guru da ‘langar’ you’d agree that this basic meal brings a soul-satiating experience that outclasses even fine dining. A tradition that’s lasted for centuries, bringing people together one and all, the langar, or community kitchen, is a quintessential element of almost every Gurudwara (venue for Sikh congregational worship).
Last month I went home for a slightly longish vacation and I came back with four kilos of excess baggage on my already expanding girth. Points to note 1. I did not go crazy eating out on the pretext of “I-am-on-holiday”. In fact, most of my meals were home cooked 2. I didn’t eat the forbidden stuff, the not so good stuff you know (Okay, I am lying I did cheat a bit but hey I was on a holiday).