“Are you sure this much of Garam masala is enough?” I asked sceptically at my roommate, Suhani as she added just few pinches of Garam masala into the cooker gave it a stir and put the lid back on. The whole flat was already filled with yummylicious or I must say mummylicious Rajma.
“Mm-Hmm I am pretty sure…” She mumbled, she was rather occupied in re-reading the Rajma recipe my mother told her over phone last night. I brought the garam masala my mother make during my last trip to home, she makes it with 21 something rare and common dry herbs and masalas, I call it the ‘masala of magic’. It smells of fresh tropical forest, of earthen divine taste, it smells of Home. Every year during my childhood we used to visit Vaishno Devi holy shrine, sometimes even twice a year. I can never forget the Rajma-Chawal we always had there, it is one of the most deliciously-filling meals I ever had, but to be honest, my mother makes a better Rajma. Whenever she used to cook, our neighbours Trivedi Uncle and Aunty used to come unannounced-uninvited over dinner. Gradually it became a ritual and I used to look forward to it, not only because it was a pleasure to taste that Rajma but also because Trivedi Uncle used to bring either chocolates or puzzles for me, sometimes even fluffy toys.
Suddenly the smell of Rajma hit my nostrils and filled every nook and corner of my flat as Suhani removed cooker lid.
“Viola” She exclaimed inhaling the spicy smell, her expressions said how pleased she was with her work; “It smells just like your Mother’s, Right? Well, almost like hers!!” She asked expectantly waiting for my reply and my eyes were gleaming with unshed tears, I was suddenly overwhelmed with longing to see my Mother, eat her cooked meals. I couldn’t bring myself to reply so I simple nodded and called my mother.
Life is very different when you are living in your home far away from your real home, it’s just not the smell of food that takes your mind back to your home, gives you a stroll down the memory lane, and it’s everything around you. The colours, the smell, the small moments have its own distinct fragrance.
Sometimes when I burn the meal I am preparing I miss home, I reminiscence those days when I used to inhale the food without even bothering to think that cooking can be this difficult.
I recently purchased Espresso/Cappuccino making machine, being a coffee addict it is as must as having water purifier here. There is no comparison to the impatient feeling while waiting to have that first cup of espresso and when I help that cup in my hand the memories of 1 minute coffee I used to make for my Dad came rushing back, I haven’t prepared even a tea until I was in 2nd year of college, and why I made is a story for another time. But for the past one and a half decade I have been making 1 minute coffee for my Dad. Even whenever I am home, my dad asks for the coffee I make. Haven’t you heard of the 1 minute coffee? It’s simple, fill a borosil glass tumbler with water, add some sugar and put it in microwave oven for one whole minute, it will be boiled then add some coffee and Viola. My dad never takes tea but prefers my 1 minute coffee (he taught me to make it) or filter black coffee and holding a cup of filter black coffee is nostalgic.
“Suhani, what are all these people doing here?” I shouted as soon as I reached my home but my voice is lost in the loud musing blaring from music system. I saw few unknown and many known faces around me. I hate surprises and this is heck of a surprise. What are these people doing in my home? But what was troubling me was not the loud music or spilled wafers on my couch, not even the wet carpet but smell, smell of rotten eggs, smell of old dirty-sweaty socks which was filling my nostrils making me almost gag in disgust. But many are wearing socks and dancing rhythmless. Long after when the party was over, people have scooted to their homes, couch was dusted and wet carpet was vacuumed cleaned but one thing was still in the air, that smell of dirty socks, It reminded me the days of my dance classes. In winters when the floor was cold, our Guruji used to permit us to wear socks while dancing, though it is risky to dance wearing socks, one can easily fall but we used to dance on carpet. And the biggest problem was the reeking sweaty socks. Albeit our Guruji made the point the we have to wear clean socks but I guess the kid used to play harmonium used to wear those smelly socks, we all know he was the one, even Guruji knew, he even hinted but that kid was as oblivious.
My dad is a nature lover, we always had many potted plants and a lawn around our home. We all love the fragrance of fresh blooming rose but My dad would never let us pluck a flower just for decoration, he believes that flowers real place is with its roots not in flower vase. During the flowering season whenever wind used to blow, it used to carry the aroma inside, sparkling each corner with its freshness, uplifting our moods instantly. I so miss that happiness intensely. I so wish that I could leave everything here and go back to my home, my sanctuary, my den of happiness.
A knock came by the door “Ankita, you have a parcel from your Mumma..” that’s all Suhani had to say to get me out of my gloomy mood, and I tore the wrapper with guerrilla speed and found “Ambi Pur Air Effects freshner” with a noteDear Beta, We know you miss us; we miss you a lot too. Last week you complaint about the smelly room so I am sending you this air freshener, it will convert your flat into your home. The home your grew up playing and flocking around. Now try not to miss us too much because getting continuous hiccups all the time at this age is not very, in your language “cool.” Love you beta
Your Mumma and Pappa. This is an entry for the contest ‘Smelly to Smiley’ on IndiBlogger sponsored by AmbiPur. Visit AmbiPurIndia facebook page here.