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.


Jo Chopra McGowan said...


And lucky you, to be continuing the traditions with your own grandchild.

Sue said...

It was nice, remembering your parents while reading this.

Anand said...

Time to feed her some melons!

Aneela Z said...

I only have to taste a melon to be transported back to Pindi Days. Preferably " Sarda" . Preferably allowed to ' stew in it's own juices" in the fridge. Oh and to teach the Bengali Assameese the vocabulary of Garma and Sarda and all tastes in between...

kirti said...

A lovely post .It carried the smell of melons. It also carried your affection for a father you remember , your son who is a young father trying to be the best one ,and your husband taking the mantle of a loving father. 3 men in the family ,all loved and cherished ....a suitable post the father's day.
I connected with it because my father is a great fruit lover and he cuts the fruits with great dexterity and offers to everyone.
And I love the smell of melons.

Hip Grandma said...

Loved every line.

Neera said...

Loved reading this Dipali and oh my the melons and mangoes are so enticing. ..i end up buying much more than what my poor little fridge can carry. Please come over someday to enjoy the melons and home made panna. Will call you tomorrow.