Saturday, June 14, 2014

Not a 'melon'choly post at all

Growing up in Delhi meant long hot summers.
The scorching heat could be a killer, but it also meant fabulous summer fruit: mangoes, melons and watermelons, peaches, cherries, litchies, phaalsas and jamun. Several varieties of mango, and mango pickles and chutneys made in a variety of ways (I can think of five offhand), the delicious sweet and sour 'launji' which was tempered with fenugreek, the heat beating aam ka panna (which I still make) gave mangoes a special status each summer.

For me, though, it was the fabulous variety of melons which made summer even more special. There were the dull beige ones with peach coloured flesh, the beige and green striped ones, the brown and green striped, the small deep golden skinned Baghpat melons with white flesh, other ones with pale green flesh. I loved (and still do) the subtle sweetness and fragrance of a good musk melon.
My father added to their magic. Besides buying them with great enthusiasm, sniffing each one for the fragrance which said that it was sweet, my father would make the cutting of each melon a great adventure. Post dinner we would be eagerly watching him cut the melon(s), (depending on their size), and pronounce judgement as he tasted the first slice. If it was sweet, he would wax poetic. If not, there was always a box of powdered sugar to render it palatable. His enthusiasm for whatever life had to offer made him the very special person he was.

It's been four years since he left us. I know that I do remember him several times a day, even though I remembered the actual day of his passing a few days late. Each melon that we eat reminds me of the good times we had. We are living in the NCR after decades far away from the dry heat of a North Indian summer, so the RE and I are revelling in the fruit of the season. He has taken on the mantle of the family's melon buyer, and we have had several exquisitely sweet and juicy melons this year. I'm sure my father's watching us enjoy them!

A friend posted this poem on her Facebook page yesterday:

Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were.
They are now wherever we are.

St John Chrysostom

I know that as long as I live, my father lives on in my heart.

I see my husband as a loving father and now a grandfather, large hearted and generous always. 

It is  my older son's first Father's Day, and I have absolutely loved his utterly joyful, totally committed involvement with his infant daughter.

Happy Father's Day, Anand.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Mystery of the Missing Rolling Pin


I've used the same rolling pin for decades, ever since my mother gave it to me when I got married.
It's a longish, slender variety of 'belan'.
When I went to the USA to spend some time with my son in 2009, I was quite horrified when I had to pay 8 US dollars for a rolling pin. On this visit I decided to carry one from the motherland, and bought one polycarbonate/synthetic rolling pin with accupressure handles from the shop below our building.
It so happened that my daughter-in-law did have a rolling pin in her kitchen, but it was really huge and unwieldy, so I used the polycarbonate one.

The fun starts once I'm home.
The rolling pin in the kitchen is most definitely not mine.
It is slender, but much too small. It also has distinct handles, while mine has a more streamlined, flowing design.
Mine also has some nicks from when I used it to crush cardamom seeds.

The spouse thinks I'm confused, and feeling that it's smaller because of the larger one I was using at the son's house.
Both daughters also seem to think the same.

I think that there is a big mystery here,
Maybe the maid broke mine and bought a new one to replace it.
My regular part-time help says she has no idea.
My daughter's maid, who'd stayed over at our place to look after the spouse also claims complete ignorance of the mysterious rolling pin.

My younger son, however, agrees with me. He has even used my rolling pin in Kolkata, when he'd made alu parathas for self and friends while I was away. Thank goodness someone agrees with me.

It doesn't help solve the mystery, though.

The spouse think it is now part of a parallel universe. (He'd watched several episodes of  Fringe in recent months).

Any ideas, gentle readers?