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