A sweet sojourn


It is a hot Saturday afternoon, as my husband and I head to the vegetable and provisions market to stock up for the week. While there is definite fun to be had in shopping for clothes and accessories, I say there is deep contentment to be had in shopping for vegetables, fruits, grocery and everyday necessities.

We walk to our usual vegetable vendor, who greets us like we are his long-lost friends. The fresh and vibrant coloured vegetables look enticing. As I look at each vegetable, I imagine the dishes that I can rustle up with each of them. I stock up on fresh gooseberries – their light green colour and round shape making them look like transparent marbles. I sniff appreciatively, as the lady next to me picks up coriander and mint. While I am in-charge of the ‘healthy’ shopping, my husband is busy stocking up on many packets of wafers, chips, boondi, bhujia and other savouries.

Once we check out, my husband says, “Let’s go and buy some traditional Indian sweets.” My husband has a sweet tooth, and is already walking towards the sweet shop, before I can say anything.

During our childhood, most sweets that we ate were Indian ones, and all of them were prepared at home by our moms. When we arrive at the shop, absolutely honey-sweet memories come rushing in. The smell of ghee and sugar, the sugar crusting on a badushah, my mom’s hands patiently making yummy boondi laddos, the dripping of the batter through the small colander spoon to make the boondi, the trays into which the 1234 cake mix or badam cake mix was poured to be cut into perfect rectangles.

But above all, it was the joy that pervaded our home when these sweets and savouries were being made. We were like birds waiting to peck at the sweets or take tiny bites of the dough. We hopped about in and around the kitchen, just waiting for our mom to call us to come and try the sweets. We charged into the kitchen, where we had our first bite of a mouth watering mysorepak or a melt-in-your-mouth coconut barfi.

And now, after ages, I am actually standing inside an Indian sweet shop to buy sweets. My eyes are like saucers as I look at the variety. There are laddoos, jangris, paal kova, halwa, badam cake, cashew cake, paneer jamun….and so many many more.

The assistant is very helpful, and asks us if we want to try samples. We nod eagerly. We taste them, concurring and disagreeing on which ones we like and which ones we want to buy.

I look at the fluffy pink coconut burfi. And as I bite into the sample, I take a small sojourn into the alleys of my childhood. A feeling of absolute delight engulfs me, as it perfectly captures the excitement of memories past, of innocent times and simple joys, where my aunt grated the coconut and my mom stirred the mixture of sugar and coconut to the perfect consistency, adding a drop of pink colour that completely elevated the look of the barfi. I catch my husband’s eye and see the same joy reflected there.

Courtesy – http://www.nicepng.com

The assistant asks us which ones we need. We choose some bright orange jangris, golden laddoos, some badushas, some mysorepaks and barfis.

I ask my husband if we really need so many. He says, “Yes, we do.” And that’s that! I agree. Once in a way, yes, we do.

And then there were none….


It is a lazy afternoon, and I am at the supermarket doing my usual grocery shopping (why do we run out of milk, bread and veggies so often ?) Anyway, here I am walking down one aisle and skipping the next, and then remembering some long forgotten thing, which I had wanted to buy two weeks ago (and obviously still haven’t), and rushing back to the said skipped aisle. And that’s how it goes, pushing the huge shopping cart, and loading it with stuff, nodding at people, exchanging polite smiles with others.

I feel thirsty, and take out my waterbottle from my handbag. I drink too much water, too soon. And then it starts, a sudden hiccup that startles me with its arrival…’EYHICK’…the weird sound comes out in a short, loud burst. I look around. Thankfully there’s no one in my aisle.

Picture courtesy – Clipground

Now I have to plan my next move as I am not sure when hiccup two…’EYHICK’….. oops! Much as I try to control them, the hiccups play truant. Just when I think they have subsided, out comes another EYHICK!

A lady who sees me EYHICK suddenly, smiles knowingly, probably looking at my startled expression. I walk the aisles shopping between EYHICKS that are not rhythmic.

When I finally make it to the cashier, there is a small queue of around six people. I join the line, all the time praying that I shouldn’t have another hiccup. People join behind me too! In just two minutes, another loud EYHICK launches itself on unsuspecting members of the queue. The lady before me stands unruffled. I see a few smiles and a few indifferent stares.

I hiccup two more times before I leave the supermarket. Ten metres outside the supermarket, the hiccups seem to have left me and moved on to another person.