I stare at the empty green, brown, red pickle jars on the kitchen shelf, preserved for me.
I would help her in my summer holidays with washing, peeling, sauteing and/or caramelizing the Mangoes, Tamarinds, Lemons and Chilies, roasting spices for hot pickles and later drying them in the sun before canning a year’s stock of pickles for the family, extended family and neighbors.
I would often ask her ‘don’t you get bored and tired of repeating the recipes year after year ‘, to which she would reply ‘I enjoy it because of the special ingredient – love’
Sometimes, on lazy summer afternoons, I would accompany her to our sprawling backyard for collecting raw mangoes, tamarinds etcetera to make extra jars of pickles for our neighbor Amit, my aunt’s sister’s brother-in-law and so on.
I would also be her privileged taster for the dozen varieties of pickles and she would sprinkle the rarest and most precious of stories of her childhood, marriage to my grandfather, stories of my father and his cousins over our pickle-making and tasting session.
She passed away on March 10th and i will miss our beautiful summer afternoons – pickled in warmth , smiles and her special, secret ingredient of love – always and forever.
Written for Six Sentence Stories at Zoe’s uncharted , the cue of the week being “pickle”. Thanks to Zoe for hosting the challenge.