A recipe, a heirloom and an eyeopener

My grandmom is a phenomenal cook. She makes the most delectable fish curries and all but her true speciality is laddoos. She makes so many awesome laddoos that she has penned a book with 52 recipes of laddoos. And everyone from literary figures to politicians enjoy her laddoos.
And amongst the usual, her speciality is choormyache laddoo not the soft guju variety. They r crunchy and nutty! This one is awesome. It is a difficult difficult laddoo to make. But my grandmom wants to pass the recipe on as a heirloom.
So on my birthday, I argued with her. ‘no u shud not b making laddoos, take rest!’
‘and the taiyyari! I’ll put the paatis on ur head?’
‘i’ll make na!’
‘tond Bagh tujha! If u make them, I’ll give u a lakh of rupees!’
And obv I love being challenged so I jumped in. I don’t want the money. But that recipe is precious and the joy that my grandmom would get out of me learning from her: MasterCard style: priceless!
So on a lazy birthday morning, I dropped the phone and stood next to her as she made the perfect ‘golibandh’ paak (syrup).
‘the true magic is making the paak right and then moulding the laddoos while the mixture is hot. I’m warning you, it will burn ur palms.’
And truly, as we grabbed the mixture, I huffed and puffed. And yet I moulded those laddoos. Tears welled up. ‘why do u go through this? Why?’
‘because u all love eating them’
‘but…’
‘look, while I can, I will make it. It’s not a practical recipe but u will tell ur children and grandchildren about the awesome laddoos ur grandmom made. Bassss’
This woman is phenomenal. She has had a pampered childhood, and yet she sailed my grandfather and my uncles through a rough patch (they, I’m told, were almost bankrupt) that went on forever and now she can afford the lap of luxury but she chooses to make each day a challenege and she loves her kitchen like it were her best friend (she has a 40 yr old gas stove because she can’t bear to part with it ‘it helped me cook thru a lean patch’ is what she says)
Her love has noursihed us, literally. And as I learn the recipe she hopes I will at least recall and relate to my bacha party, I wonder if I would have the tenacity to burn my fingers to make laddoos that my kids would relish? Have we lost the ability to love like there’s no tomorrow? Have we lost the idea of putting other’s joys before ours? And have we lost it because life has been a bit too kind to us? I wonder

8 comments for “A recipe, a heirloom and an eyeopener

  1. September 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    That is touching. My grandma too went to inane depths in making us feeling joyous. I am quite afraid of what the next generation of children would treat us like. Dirt? Might be more minuscule than that.

    • September 23, 2009 at 1:50 am

      i would like to be positive and think they will have a different way of caring 🙂

  2. September 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    touching & yet thought provoking!!…but i’am so so jealous o’ you afta reading this piece…one ‘cuz u hav a such a wonderful grandmom (i nvr gt d luxury o’ interaction wid ny o’ my grandparents) & also ‘cuz u can njoy the delights of her culinary skill :)….my regards to u’r grandmom..she’s truly a wonderful person & thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

  3. September 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Wow Shakti ! really inspiring gurl. The older generation is really an inspiration for all of us, I think they were the real women power, they were much stronger than the women of today .. in every sense. KUDOS to them..

    • September 23, 2009 at 1:55 am

      i so agree with u. they had to fight the social norms and break the stereotypes. or aaji public is maha cool!

  4. Joss
    September 22, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Great post! It really made me think. Like most mums these days I am always worrying about what my son should and shouldn’t be doing. Am I disciplining him enough, pushing him enough? And most parenting gurus go down the same track. Rarely do we ask if we are loving our children enough, or making enough joy for them. Instead we worry, like you do, that too much kindness will somehow make them selfish. What makes all your words the more thought-provoking is that you say your grandma had a pampered childhood. Why did she not turn out self-centred, I wonder? How did her own mother bring her up. I’d like to know.

  5. September 23, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Its not tht, its just the environment. we feel that putting ourselves before others is the only way to go. my grandma lost her mum when she was 12. she was brought up in a rich family and her father was progressive. the woman didnt cook till she was like 20! but she din end up self centred cause around her, people were selfless. she learnt from them

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