My dadi called it gupchup,
My nani called it batasha,
I am the girl with big eyes that go red
And a small mouth that opens too wide
While having the very last golgappa
That’s on the plate, for me.
I still smell spices in my brain,
Alien to my mum’s modular kitchen
That could be only found
In the folds of a house
That had outlived its age.
Just like my grandmas’ love
Carefully concealed under
The garbs of the wrinkles
That adorned their faces.
I still see them moving their hands,
Gesticulating every story of Ram or Krishna
That they told me
As they boiled raw mangoes
And crushed tamarind
In between stone slates,
To create the magical water,
That filled the space inside the puri
With the sweetness of their smiles
And sourness of their parting cries.
I still hear them humming,
Tunes of ancient lands,
While they roll and flatten the batter
Into perfectly shaped circles.
The kitchen making batasha
Hums the tune of a man
Who bends down for those in need.
The kitchen making gupchup
Sings the song of a warrior woman
Returning from battle,undefeated.
In Summer breaks, nani taught me humbleness.
In Winter breaks, dadi taught me courage.
It’s been years,
That I forgot how to trace my steps
Back to heavens of my childhood.
When I want to go back,
I go out for a plate of golgappas.
And with the first gulp,
I am the same girl
With big eyes and a small mouth,
Who peeked into the kitchen
To always find her dadi with the gupchup
And her nani with the batasha.
And the humbleness.