My grandmother was such an inspiration, I wish I could mimic her lifestyle – wake up early before the sun rises, drink a glass of warm water empty stomach – finish up toilet business, take a bath and do salutations to the rising Sun. Then eat home made fresh warm wholesome breakfast and then do something else that triggers your grey cells (My grandmother used to be a managing partner in my mum’s restaurant). She used to take a quick nap post lunch for 30 mins and then be back at the restaurant to help my mum. In the evening, both of them used to have tea/coffee together and chat about their lives while snacking on some healthy full grain biscuits. My grandmother had a small room beside the kitchen in the restaurant, which she used for meditation. Every evening after 6pm she used to meditate for 45 minutes. She said it brought her everything that she wanted from her life, meditation made her very calm and composed. After, that she used to have her dinner by 7:30 pm which was by-default some vegetable curry and home made bread. I wish to do all this sometime.
Anyway, in the initial days, my mother made her living by selling food as lunches to people. She used to pack them in small boxes and send it to people who subscribed for her food. From there she opened a small restaurant. She then slowly expanded the restaurant and finally, she became the proud owner of “Bombay luncheon” which is a very successful restaurant in Mumbai.
Johan and I, reached my mother’s house at noon. She was at the restaurant and I let myself in with the spare key she had hidden under the mat at the door. Both of us settled down and rested for a bit, then as planned we were to go to Juhu Beach first, look at the Sun setting across the vast blue ocean, spreading it’s last rays like little molecules of gold on the ever intense ocean. Sometimes, I wonder what does the wind tell the waves, that makes them swash day in and day out.
We went there at the beach and held each other’s hands, it was magical. Nobody looked at us differently, for we were the same. Nobody thought any less of us for we were equals. Our sexual choices will no longer define us. I was a proud Indian that day.
We went to the restaurant which was closed for the evening that day, as my mother wanted to cook herself for me and Johan and give us a warm welcome. I entered the restaurant and immediately smelled the aroma of fresh spices being roasted in a pan. I smelled rice and bread, lemon and salt, I smelled my childhood. It is so amazing that some aromas and scents can take you to exactly the same place and same setting, where they were most present. I can associate a scent to each of my friends and family members, for example my grandmother used to smell of lilies and sandalwood all the time. Every time, I smell sandalwood or lilies I am reminded of her and her awesomeness. So, at the restaurant, I saw my mother cooking while there was a man who was helping her. I didn’t know who he was but he looked familiar. I didn’t recognize him.
I went inside the kitchen and hugged my mom from behind, the way I used to when I came from school every day. She put her hand on my cheeks and turned around. Gave me a big squishy kiss on my cheeks, and then hugged Johan and kissed him on the cheeks too. She was happy to see us both. She asked us about our flight and then pointed us to the table that was specially set for us. It was the best spread of food I had ever seen. It had everything that I loved eating. It had mushroom soup, fritters of cottage cheese, chicken kebabs, mutton minced mixed with vegetables, garbanzo beans mixed with tomatoes, onions, raw mangoes and some green chillies – salt and drops of lemon, a very thin cracker made from garlic and pulses, Dahi vada – which is lentil balls soaked in yoghurt topped with some dry spice powders and tamarind chutney, spinach and cottage cheese, salad, my favorite desserts – Jalebi which is also known as Indian pretzel – deep fried in clarified butter and sweetened with sugar syrup, saffron and cardamom, Gulab jamuns also known as Indian fried donuts and the main course of – FISH CURRY served with rotis.
….to be continued