Grandmom’s treat


Gone are those days when summer holidays with cousins meant dinner in the backyard, near the well, which every home had. The area around the well usually had a cement floor, in one corner of which was a washing stone to wash clothes. Each home usually had a few coconut trees, and maybe some mango or neem trees.

Dinner with cousins was a fun time, when we would all sit in a semicircle around an aunt or grandma, who would have premixed sambar rice or curd rice in a huge vessel, which she would then pass into each of our cupped hands. We would each have a banana leaf with some vegetable or pickle or papads as accompaniment(s) to the main rice dish.

We would laugh, exchange jokes and talk animatedly as we gobbled up all the yummy food that was given to us.

Cut to the present. We are at my mom’s and my kids and all their cousins of various ages are excitedly making plans for dinner. They decide that dinner with cousins equals pizza. They are soon deeply engrossed in the wide variety of toppings and crust fillings – vociferously debating the merits and demerits of each. The order is finally placed, and soon all of them vanish into their virtual worlds.

My mom, who was busy with her chores when the pizza conversation happened, comes to know about the pizza plans only after she has made her aromatic rasam and has started prepping vegetables for dinner.

When the pizzas are delivered, my mom brings her rasam and leaves it on the table. She tells her grandchildren that they can have the rasam like a soup if they want.

The aroma of melted cheese, bell peppers, olives and all things pizza waft around our home. We sniff appreciatively. The kids go berserk. This is their version of our ‘childhood dinners by the well’ story. The topics of conversation are so different. They talk about memes and their favourite shows and references from these shows. But the camaraderie is the same.

Once the pizzas vanish, my son fills a small bowl with my mom’s rasam. He sits down on the couch and takes a sip. He smacks his lips and slurps the next spoon. “Wow, grandma, this is simply delicious”, he exclaims!!

This is cue enough for the other cousins. All of them fill cups of rasam and sit down to slurp noisily, relishing the taste and sharing silly jokes, while reveling in their grandmom’s love. My mom watches them, a smile playing on her face.

My sisters and I reminisce about the passage of time. As we walk down memory lane, our kids are busy creating their own memories for the future.

Shopping, paranthas & peace


My sister and I are out shopping. There is no specific shopping list; we are willing to buy anything that grabs our attention. Read – ‘as many shops as we can visit in one afternoon’.

Our children are with their grandmom, and we don’t feel any guilt. We wave cheery byes to our children, who are oblivious to our departure. They are enjoying junk food, and reveling in the joy of being totally spoiled by their grandmom.

We drive down to one of our favourite malls. We drive each other nuts by trying on hundreds of clothes, doing catwalks for each other; all the while catching up on family gossip, children, motherhood and other silly things that sisters talk about.

We reach a point where our arms hurt from all that exertion. We buy 2% of what we tried, but the satisfaction is enormous.

We need coffee. We need something to eat. And then, we find this small restaurant that has a skylight, and has huge stone slabs and steps that serve as tables and chairs. Multi-coloured cushions languish on various stones. Trees give us company. We order hot aloo paranthas and coffee. As we wait for the food, we soak in this place, this slice of heaven. Where, unbeknowst to ourselves, we’ve stopped talking.

We are immersed in our own thoughts. Life seems so simple and so uncomplicated in this quadrangle. A lazy bird chirps above us. Ants are busily climbing the walls.

Our food arrives. We relish it in silence. We are loathe to leave this peace, but real life beckons. We step out into the world, where people are rushing, vehicles are moving – nobody stops or pauses even for a second.

Grandma’s Tales


When we were growing up, one year and two-year old children were usually fed by their grandmoms.

No prams, no high chairs. The grandma would carry the child on her hip.  In the other hand she would carry a stainless steel bowl, filled to the brim with mashed rice, dal (lentils), a dash of clarified butter and a portion of vegetable.

The grandma would walk about the courtyard of her house, with a chubby little baby on her hip, pointing out the blue sky, the swaying trees, the green leaves and the small ants going about their day.

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     Courtesy – http://www.illustrationsof.com

The ubiquitous crow never failed to entertain. Cawing in its raucous voice, the crow provided ample opportunity for the grandma to feed the child, whose mouth would be open in wonder at all these small marvels and miracles of nature.

The postman, the people walking on the street, the honking of an autorickshaw – these were the other sources of entertainment.

It was a sight to behold. Sometimes, the grandma would spin a tale about a good crow who was obedient, and a naughty crow who was not obedient, and would then tell the child that he or she was like the good crow. Another mouthful of food would be cleverly fed.

Mission accomplished, the grandma would clean up the child and carry her indoors.

Countless grandmoms in countless courtyards spending quality time with their grandchildren. A truly special bond indeed!