Ma hated cooking. Domestic spirits haunted her.
She did it, alright. Paper thin dosas on which her words wouldn’t stay
Peanut chutney for daddy. Coconut chutney for my sister
My motto was “ketchup makes everything better.”
Ma didn’t mind. Or we didn’t ask
Ma hated cooking. The milk boiling didn’t make her day.
She did it, alright. Guests praised her desserts
“Obviously, she is so sweet. How could her desserts be bad?”
Rabdi and halwa and Gulabjamuns. Shortbread and icecream.
Sugar tins were refilled. But Ma was somewhat sour.
Ma hated cooking. Her kitchen was spotless and clean.
Bags of processed vegetables sat in her freezer, unclaimed.
Her counter top gleamed like a mirror.
“the pav-bhaji is a dream come true, ma!” , we chorused
Reflections of julienned ambitions never answered.
Ma hated cooking. The pantry was always stocked.
Ma’s pizzas always reached us before the pizza boy’s.
Extra cheese, pineapples, jalapenos; she never ran out.
Then again, running out isn’t always about ingredients.
Sisyphus smiled empathetically as we all said, “one more!”
Ma hated cooking. She loved her morning coffee though.
I do too. Love coffee, I mean.
I love cooking as well. Incomplete legacies.
I’m told I cook like Ma.
But something is always missing.
Love. But not love.
My mom’s kitchen is as much a reminder of love,
As the Taj Mahal.
I cook because I love cooking.
Ma cooked because she loved us.
My mom’s kitchen is where I learnt selflessness.
My mom’s kitchen smells of hot coffee, compromise and love.