Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hot & Spicy!

A few months after I started with my Post Graduation course outside Kerala we got our first holidays. It was my first experience of staying away from my family and I was super excited to head back home! Nothing during that age was better than having the lovely food prepared by my mom. Needless to say, she had prepared those stuff which I loved the most.

Quite a few dishes awaited me at the dining table and was anticipating an attack any moment. The saliva was creating Mexican waves in my mouth and soon enough I started with my most favourite dish. As soon as I took the first bite I could sense something wrong! My taste buds were on fire and the entire food pipe experienced an intense burning sensation. That’s when I truly realized how spicy the food back home was!

The few months I was away being deprived of mom’s food and my taste buds experiencing an almost bland food from the college hostel, the spices back home became unbearable. That’s when my dad told me this story about one of the boldest grandmothers we’d in the family who was a connoisseur of spicy food! Kunjammachy was her name.

Kunjammachy was far beyond her senior citizen age at that time and it had been a few years since her eye sight failed her. But her taste buds still rocked big time! She loved spices and wanted everything served to her really spicy. One day she got a chutney made by one of her granddaughters. The chutney made for Kunjammachy was already extra hot that usually the rest of the family wouldn’t even attempt to try that.

The chutney was served to Kunjammachy and she had a spoonful. What followed next was a rhetoric of blasting to her granddaughter citing that the chutney is nowhere near being spicy. A lecture followed as well on how to make real spicy chutney. The granddaughter was quite taken aback with the lashings and she went back to the kitchen, doubled the spice quotient and served the dish again.

A quick tasting of the chutney by Kunjammachy and what happened next was unprecedented. The granddaughter saw a ‘flying saucer’ coming right at her and sure enough it didn’t miss the target. Her forehead received a massive blow with the saucer in which she served the chutney. Just like thunder following lightning, promptly came the avalanche of yelling and screaming!

“That’s it!” The granddaughter said. She went out, right into the backyard and searched for a specific genre of chilli the name of which literally translates as ‘Cheek Buster’. You touch it with your bare hand and you’re done for a few days with extreme burning sensation from the chilli. The granddaughter was so miffed that she got a couple of those deadly chillies and grinded them along with the chutney and promptly placed it in front of Kunjammachy.

The eyes that couldn’t see twinkled! Kunjammachy’s senses became all alert. She took a spoonful and tasted a little bit of that fiercely spicy chutney. All what it took was a few moments before tears started rolling down those cheeks. Blood rushed to her face. Her whole body was heated up like crazy. The entire food pipe and the internal organs must’ve got a flash fire shower! She was absolutely shaken.

Surprisingly she didn’t stop there and in fact had a few more spoons of the chutney. Then came the statement, which from that day, became a folklore in the family.

She told her granddaughter these words, “Good one dear, now it is a little bit spicy at least!” 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two minutes of silence!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - June 2017

A while ago in one of the articles, I’d mentioned about an advice my boss gave me about life after marriage. When I shared my apprehensions about getting married, he said, “Jerry, getting married is nothing! The moment you become a dad or mom; that is what I’ll call a game changer! Rest everything is pretty simple!”

His advice definitely took shape when we became parents for the first time. It didn’t stop there. We hardly knew what we were signing up for when we became parents again! If having a child was a game changer, having two kids is a whole different game altogether!

The two little brats, a five year old boy and a little girl who is yet to turn two, make our home buzzing with activities that seem to be going on for almost 24/7. There is something or other happening around us all the time. The house is filled with the noises of their fights, their cries, their toys and what not. It is a war zone daily out there and many of the days, my wife and I have reached our heights of patience and it is indeed a wonder that our sanity still clings to its dear life!

While things were going on like this, one weekend I was about to have my breakfast. It was corn flakes that day and our little girl came running to me for her share. As usual I gave her a spoonful of the cereal. I usually mix my cereal with some healthy nuts and dry fruits to make it richer. After a few more spoons she stopped asking me for more. Instead she suddenly appeared to be tired and showed signs of being sleepy. It looked so strange since she just woke up only a few minutes back from a very sound sleep. Little did we know that a spine-chilling drama was about to unfold!

She soon started yawning and we continued to wonder what’s wrong. A few more minutes went by before we realized that there could be a portion of nuts or so stuck in her throat. We tried our basic understanding of how to deal with such situation, but with no results. The baby started showing signs of weariness.

Soon enough her eyes started rolling up which definitely is a sign of danger. We tried our best, to check if she can spit out anything at all that may be stuck in her throat. Finally we decided that keeping her at home will make things worse and quickly got ready to drive her down to the nearby hospital. That very moment she started coughing very badly and it was soon followed by her throwing up what she had including half a piece of a walnut!

Immediately after this, our little girl was back in action. All her tiredness and sleepiness seem to have disappeared into thin air. The yawning and rolling of eyes gave way to non-stop activities and lighting speed tactics. Having said that, the two minutes when she was almost near the bridge that connects this world with the other, was a defining moment for us. It was indeed an eye-opener.

We realized that our house was unusually quite during those two minutes. The usual hustle and bustle was suddenly missing. There were no longer cries of happiness, instead was only cursed with an eerie silence! The running behind the kids was replaced with a frantic run for saving a precious life. We longed for her to do something mischievous so that we can see her naughty smile when scolded, instead we only saw a pair of eyes that was soon losing its brightness. We saw doom coming!

What happened next was something we strongly believe as the intervention from a super-natural being. The cough she started having was God send which resulted in her throwing up the piece of walnut that was stuck deep down in her throat. We were so fortunate to have our little one back to her normal life soon!

It was a lesson learned, a very painful one indeed. The incident taught us not to wait for the silence from our dear ones to realize how important they are. What we many a times perceive as noise is in fact the sweetest of music from them, provided we learn to train ourselves to listen to it. 

May the good God bless us with the providence to realize such music in life and appreciate every note of it! 

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