Tuesday, September 10, 2013

mangoes, memories... and more.

it really is not possible to cut into a mango without being usurped by memories. a carton of them, hand-picked from the hundreds plucked, had been put in the kitchen by my brother, early in the afternoon. as i bustled in to make tea for the family, that sweet smell of more than a fifty mangoes, some ripening - others just right - hit me strongly. i was reduced to the ten-year-old trying to pluck low lying mangoes  on my grandfather's farm.

    less than ten years later, i found myself sitting at the mica-topped dining table in our ancestral house drinking tea with grandpa, whom everyone calls pappa, and my dad's eldest brother. as with most houses in Kerala surrounded by tall trees, the afternoon is ringing with birdsongs and squirrels chirping as the walls come alive with flitting light through the leaves.
summer sun and mangoes.

the first big exams of my first semester in law college had got over before the holidays. i was sure i would flunk at least three subjects. i was scared to go back, wondering if opting for legal studies had been the right option. and, teenager that i was, i kept ranting to my uncle, whose most favourite niece i am, by the way. he listened patiently, not making the mistake of uttering a word lest i have a meltdown.

that is when my grandpa said softly, in his strong professor voice, "courage does not mean you stop. courage means you go on, despite whatever makes you afraid!" he went back to sipping his tea, made just the way he likes it. the birds kept calling, the sunlight kept dancing on the walls.

but, in those two seconds, i knew my life had changed forever.

it does not mean that i haven't cowered or made for the nearest escape route when i could. but, whenever i have been cornered, when the only way out has been the hardest way, these words have lent me dignity to find value in my life in the lowest of times and held me in good stead in times of joy.

this post has been sitting on my mind and my drafts folder since summer. but, this is when i could will myself to post it.

'the reluctant homemaker' has shifted base to Kerala, a rather lush and wet state in southernmost India. i felt the need for a new name. 'the kitchen window' was the name of my blog when i freelanced for the Times Of India web portal, iDiva. since Kerala is the home of my ancestors, where my roots are, i thought, why not etch my first blog's name into history as well.