i was in the first year of my pre-degree course when my mother's mother, ammachi, had her first cardiac arrest. all phone calls were dotted with the words "heart attack." despite being discharged in a week, she went about her daily routines, always fretting over her husband, his meals, his clothes, his coming, his going. in less than a month she had another near-fatal cardiac arrest.
the bypass surgery was serious, and hardly heard of in Kerala, more than 15 years ago. it was in a hospital not far from our home, but in the neighbouring state. i didn't see mom for weeks. we had a domestic help brought in immediately from a relative's house who managed the kitchen and housework. i learnt to operate the washing machine.
ammachi stayed on with us for another couple of months. i learnt and met about most relatives on my mother's side in those two months. mom's cousin had started a business in hand loom saris. she came with five saris. mom could not will herself to buy it. but ammachi, she bought one with a border of deep maroon and golden stripes. this was my introduction to how women held onto hope in unravelling circumstances!
it is December. when the lagging year suddenly picks up tempo. a new year is not that far away and its like there is a new lease to life. hope surges. and, i bring you another little diy, a zesty and spicy pomander to match the upbeat mood.
once you perforate the sweet limes with toothpicks, to pierce the cloves into it is simply easy-peasy. even the kids can do it. place it in with chocolates in an antique chest to set the mood for long conversations with friends. or hang it on door knobs to add interest and let the holiday waft in every room!