Friday, February 19, 2010

"By The Book" Tag

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Warning: Proceed only if you don't mind feeling miserable at the end of reading this post.

This tag wasn't passed on to me but I decided to pick up anyway from Jayashree's spot "Experiments with food". I picked up this tag because it was "Distinctly Different" and I was raring to write about a booklet(but procrastinating) that has become one of the most important asset that I cherish above the rest.So what makes this yellowed, dog-eared booklet so important? It doesn't have any secret-recipe passed down from generation to generation.The simple, honest, back-to-basics sort of recipes were handwritten by my aunt, who is no more. She may be dead and long gone but she is "Immortalized In Ink" in my well-worn booklet. Writing about this special booklet means I relive the pain that I experienced some 5 years ago..a pain that hasn't lessened over time..To say more on this painful chapter of my life, I guess I will have to Flashback to Year 2005.
          2005 was a promising year for me. I had finished Grad school, re-entered workforce,felt empowered by confidence and choices that I made in life, perceived that life was beautiful, loved every minute of all that it had to offer. What I didn't know was that all these good chapters in my life was only a prelude to something terrible that was in store for me and my family. One fine September morning, my aunt(who lived in Sunny California) comes home after dropping her 2 pre-teen kids at school. She starts sweating profusely and has pain in the chest-area.She waits patiently for her hubby(my dad's bro) to come downstairs, who by the way is showering and getting ready to go to work.When he does come 10 minutes later he sees that she is in a lot of pain..immediately calls 911 and by the time the ambulance came, she knew something was very wrong with her..she only said to her hubby "I'm afraid"..she then passed out.By the time she was taken to the ER, she was brain dead because she had suffered a massive heart-attack that ruptured the vessels taking blood supply to the brain. She was quite young, you know. Just 42. A week after she had the attack, there was no sign of improvement and her organs started failing one by one.My uncle, my parents and both her kids saw her heart-beat drop and flat-line.She never did regain consciousness before she died.No one's last words should be "I'm afraid".. So incomplete, just like her lifeline. I had gone for her funeral and still can't get past the image where she looked like an angel taking a nap. The folks at the funeral home had stitched her, bathed her and had tied a Saree(her Wedding Saree BTW) with her brother's guidance and there she was sleeping her final sleep.Her coffin was flown to Bangalore, her birthplace, to be buried..I'm afraid I don't have any recipes from this aunt, who was an amazing cook.:(.
        While my family was still recoiling from this shocking loss, fate dealt a similar blow three month later. It was the New Year's Eve. I was flying to India..rung New Year midair..touched down on Indian soil soonafter.My Inlaws came by to pick me and my hubby. I passed via my aunt's house(mom's sister).Ever since I emigrated to the US, some 15 yrs ago,the only place that I stayed in Chennai was my aunt's house.However things changed after marriage. So when I passed my aunt's house, I was itching to jump out of the SUV and run to her place, just like old times.You see,she raised me until I was 5. She was like a second mom. So no second-guessing how very special she was to me. After a lengthy reviving nap, I called her that afternoon and talked to her for a couple of hours. I called her again at around 8PM and she said she was watching fireworks and stuff and asked me when I was going to visit her. So after scheduling my visit to her place, which was the next day, I hit the bed for some reviving sleep.I get a call at 2AM from the US, from my sister, who was crying and screaming.I didn't understand head or tail of what was going on..she then screamed that my aunt was DEAD. But which one? She then told me, my sweet aunt, the one I was gonna go visit had died of cardiac arrest. My whole being went into some kind of shock..When I promised to visit her on Jan 2nd, it wasn't to go to her funeral. By the time I put a brave face and went there early morning, she was put in a glass box and she too was wearing her wedding Saree..She was in her early 50s..That is no age to die. Tears wouldn't come. It was as though a part of me went numb. I was thinking about the great times we had shared since I was a child and I just couldn't grieve. Grieving would mean that I finally get that she is no more..then accepting would mean that I will have to move on..You see, I wasn't ready for both.
        Losing both women, who were very dear to me, has streaked my life with melancholy. Even though I have bright spots in my life, I always wonder what other misfortunes the future has in hold, which in turn makes me gloomy. Anytime I get a phone call after 9PM in the evening, I am looking at it as if it is a bearer of bad news..bringer of misery..I hate the fear, hate the weakness.Most of all I hate my inability to deal with death. Will I ever learn to cope up? I don't know.
   Anywayz, want a recipe from that revered book of mine? Click here.
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  1. Oh dear.. I am so very sorry! Losing someone you love dearly is just not something we can easily get over.. I still shed tears thinking of my grandfather who passed away when I was in 8th grade.. So I can totally relate to what you say.. But parting is also the way of life to make us understand that this life is short and the time we live, we must be happy and keep others too happy.. Chin up... Our loved ones never leave us, instead they keep watching over us.. :)

  2. U have got me 'tear'ing..... I don't like it.... I don know how to put up with this TRUTH of life..... I hate it..... I pray to God, to call me before anyone in my family...... I know we propose & God disposes..... It is a situation with a catch..... A very bad catch.... Nigalthe nahi bantha hein na ugalthe......


  3. I am so so sorry for your loss. Be brave and think positive. They never leave, they are always with us wishing good.

  4. Dear lassie
    I can feel what you have gone through and now too. Whenever you feel sad for these incidents of life, try to behave the way they wanted to see you now..they are watching you from up there.
    Let me go to the recipe...will cook the recipe as soon as I am back

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, dear...God is always there for us!..don lose hope!..

  6. Thank you for taking up this tag.
    Iam so sorry for your loss. Your post really touched a chord in me....I too am scared of early morning and late night phone calls.

  7. Dear Lassie, Death is inevitable and is the bitter truth of life. What is alive today has to go one day. Reading through the post I thought u are a brave girl. Bad incidents surely make us weak but strive to conquer ur fears and keep happy the people who are alive and need u so much. I guess both ur aunts will also want u to do that and am pretty sure that u are very good at that. Cheer up girl.

  8. ohhh..i m so so sorry dear..i know how it feels..coz i too hada big loss last year of my cousin who accidently passed away and he was just 21 yrs :(....... maybe its a way of god to help us deal with miseries more than others :(...

  9. Fallen apart, even I cant face situations like these..its terrible, really miserable to fight the truth of life..

  10. First time on your sad when I read this post...but that is how life is...I guess one has to go thru grief the same way as you go thru happiness...accept both wholeheartedly!!!

    Will definitely be back on your write very well!!

  11. Lassie,its such a tragic thing...i can understand wat u r going through, so sorry to hear this.I know its difficult but dear you have to let it go b'coz ur aunts will b unhappy if u r sad like this, so pls make them happy!

  12. So sad...but then everyone has to go thru grief...and u've got that book as a token...

  13. Everyone,
    Thanks for all your support and concern. It is very touching. Yes, I am moving on with my life even though at times it feels like I am bound by fear. But that is life with ups and downs that is necessary for a right balance. Thx again. Your support means a lot.

  14. It takes immense strength to get through loss of loved ones.Thanks for sharing this with us,dear Cool Lassie.hugs!


Thanks a bunch for your valuable comments and continued support.They are very much appreciated. Yes,like "Rain on Dry Land" and like "Oasis in Desert Sand".
XoXo, Cool Lassi(e)