The yearly pickle ritual


It is 11 am in the morning; and as I type away on my keyboard, one corner of my eye is watching my phone for a call that I have been expecting from a friend.

This is not a regular ‘catch-up’ call. This call signifies a yearly ritual, when one my dearest friends buys special raw mangoes, makes the yummiest mango pickle, bottles it and then gifts it to all her dear friends.

So, today is that day..and just the thought of the pickle makes me salivate.

Soon, my screen lights up and I hop down joyfully to our lobby, where my friend passes the bag, waves a cheery goodbye, and drives away in a rush.

I hug the bag and walk home. Before I put the bottle into the refrigerator, I open the lid and inhale the aroma. Pure bliss!!

Image courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

I look at the clock, an hour and a half to go for lunch. I get back to work. But like a child who has been given a gift or who has a happy secret, I keep smiling in anticipation.

As I try to focus on my work, my Dad visits my thoughts. Back in my childhood, whenever my Dad sat down to eat, and when the first hot serving of rice was on his plate, the first thing he would do was to add a little bit of ghee, and then add mango pickle or lime pickle to his rice and eat that as his first course. And if we were around, he would give us spoonfuls of hot pickle rice, and we would devour them with relish.

It is finally lunch time. As all of us sit down at the table, I heap hot, fluffy rice on my plate, add a little ghee, and add my friend’s mango pickle. I mix it, and take the first mouthful. Divine!!!

And for a minute there, I go back to my childhood kitchen, and feel my Dad’s presence. The years have flown by, but time seems to have gone back to the past for a brief sojourn.

I ask my kids if they want to taste the pickle rice. And they taste it and love it! No surprise there at all!!

I smile. The bigger things in life may keep changing, but there are some simple moments in life that are sheer magic, and that don’t change.

I bless and thank my friend for all her efforts and love each year.

Big brother, little sister


It’s already mid-October, and the days seem to be outdoing each other, as they run a mad race towards the end of the year.

With every room at home occupied by family members, who are engaged in the virtual world, I find it a challenge to eke out time for a cosy, long chat with my sisters.

I had a sudden free hour this weekend, and decided to video call my sister. Needless to say, it was a rejuvenating call! Midway through the call, my sister turned her phone camera towards my niece, who was sitting on the balcony floor and babbling away, as she played with cloth pegs and a clothes hanger.

As we continued our chat, my sister exclaimed sharply! The skies had suddenly opened up, and it had started raining. My sister asked my niece to come indoors. But the little lady would have none of it. She continued sitting there, her head turned skyward, as she revelled in the feel of raindrops on her face.

My sister tried to lift her physically, but that brought on a loud bawl. As my sister and I laughed, and wondered how we would get her indoors, my nephew happened to pass by.

And, when he realized that his little sister was sitting in the rain and getting wet, he did a very smart thing. He ran to get an umbrella and sat down, holding it over both their heads.

Copyrighted image

My heart just melted as I watched this simple act of love. And as I hung up, the big brother continued to talk to his little sister about the rain, and she babbled away in response.