Yesterday I had my all time favourite dinner.. thair sadham and urugai (for the uninitiated, yogurt on rice with spicy Indian pickle). It made me think of those happy childhood days long gone..
Me, Anuj and Vats would be vacationing at our grandparents place during yet another summer holiday. A summer with my cousins always meant tons of fun! Starting from the long walk early in the morning to see the new railroad, to the castles we built on the pile of construction sand from the beach and whole cities with roads and rail tracks meticulously drawn by us with chalk, we were always on the out look for the most creative thing to do. Our grandparents encouraged us so much that we even had drawing classes, dance classes and music classes every day! Of course the tomboyish me and Anuj used to smuggle out instead of singing, while Vats was always the model student!
Thatha would take us to the stationery store, to buy the crayons and pencils we needed to create our artwork. I remember him urging us to try hard. He got us all the things we wanted, even as much as getting a carpenter to make us our very own set of wooden toy trains!
I can never recall calling my grandma "patti". To me she was always "Ambu" (a short form of her name), a name that I innocently gave her, and it stuck on, so that every one of my cousins and my brother would call her that.
Evenings meant dinner in the moonlight. Ambu would get a large bowlful of delectable thair sadham, and we would pick our favorite pickles. Lemon, Mango, Tomato, Neem leaf, Raw mango.. the list was endless. One variety was never good enough. Ambu would bring a plateful of all the pickles and would dole out small mouthfuls into each of our outstretched little hands..
Then it would be bedtime, which meant us cuddling together in the hand stitched quilts, and whispering conversations as Ambu urged us to sleep.
Even today, as I sit in my apartment eating my plateful of rice and pickle ( alas, I am old enough to be happy with one variety), my mind goes back to those wonderful days of infinite joy and not a care in the world. I realize that it was the infinite love that our grandparents showered on us that made those summer days even more sunny and beautiful..adding to our kaleidoscope of happy memories for years to come.