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.

Cold spice


Many years ago, when my husband and I were at a loose end one Saturday, we decided to go out for an ice cream. My husband heavily recommended a small ice cream shop, whose specialty ice creams were all the rage.

We finally got there. It was a hot and humid day, so it was the perfect day for an ice cream.

The shop itself was small and unassuming. We sat down and reviewed the menu. Exotic ice cream flavour-names caught our eye. And as I scanned the menu, my husband laughed out aloud.

He said, “I know what you should have. The Green Chilli Ice cream.”

“Green Chilli Ice cream?” I repeated.

“You love spice and you want ice cream, so imagine..it’s the perfect combo for you”, said my husband.

I gave in, still not convinced about the flavour. But well, the order was placed and we waited. I have to admit though, that I was a little excited to try it.

Our ice creams arrived. The scoop was a pale green.

I dug into it with the spoon. The cold hit my tongue first, following which the spice of the green chillies spread across my tongue, sharp and piercing, the cold no longer numbing the senses.

My husband looked at me expectantly.

“Hmmm, can’t really say anything, have to eat some more”, I said.

But five spoons later, I was still struggling with the ice cream.

I told my husband that cold spice is not really my thing, though I love spicy food.

Green chillies were never meant to be made into ice creams.

My husband had to eat both our portions, as I ordered another regular mango scoop.

Have you tried any interesting ice cream flavours?