Written on March 25, 2022
We finish our yoga class at 9:30 am, all of us calm and almost sleepy after the last 20 minutes of meditation. Mom makes tea for the two of us. We sit outside on the swing in the front deck, the warm sunshine beating down on us. The sunshine we were vying for just a week ago is now something we are beginning to avoid.
Aloka walks out into the deck with her special haldi tea and sits across from us. It's her favorite thing to talk about a strange dream she had the previous night, describing it in full details. Sometimes, she brings up a recipe she had seen on YouTube, knowing fully well that this sucker of a mom will try it out that very night for dinner. We talk of random things, sometimes teasing mom, sometimes laughing at jokes and word-plays. Every time mom is stuck at Wordle, she regrets telling me because I give her subtle hints, which she complains about but (I think) secretly appreciates. Mom slips into stories we have heard many times before, but no one stops her.
Birds seek our attention by their squeaking and preening on trees and bushes surrounding our boundary wall. We discuss the Eagle nest atop our Khirk tree and the other favorite perches of the resident eagles. Flowers that are just beginning to open up get our attention and appreciation. Mom tells Aloka the names of various flowers every day, hoping she will remember them.
Asha, our house-help, peeps out from the door to say Namaste, her mask in place. She has been told not to take her mask off as long as she is in the house, and she has held on to that promise for the last few months. Mom always has something to say to her, at times appreciating her fancy sweater and at other times asking her to pull in her paunch. Asha giggles at the attention.
Aarti, our gardener, walks in through the garden gate, in all her finery. Mom appreciates her shawl or sweater or her kurta. I talk to her about the vegetable patch. We ooh and aah at the vegetables growing well and share our disappointment about those that didn’t take off that well. Our individual gardens are strangely coordinated in their success and failures, despite being in different places. I sometimes wonder if Arti underplays the success of her own garden just to make me feel better.
Subhash ji greets us loudly as he enters the house to take the car keys. On days his hypochondria is active, he talks to us across the garden gate about various symptoms. Mom and I exchange glances and surreptitiously roll our eyes at his descriptions of strange illnesses. If he crosses the gate to talk more, both of us become alert and take him more seriously.
As soon as the tea is drunk, I walk to my happy space to harvest some peas or to look proudly at the flourishing coriander patch or sadly at the struggling spinach plants. Sonika walks out into the deck with a plateful of boiled eggs and the fancy salt and pepper cellar. She peels the eggs and offers to all of us. Aloka will not touch the egg yolks, so they become a treat for the dogs Gullu and Sula. Sonu invariably sparks off more laughter by mispronouncing words and immediately realising that she would be caught. No mistake goes past Aloka and me. Sonu is by far the most amused by her mistakes.
No one wants to leave the outdoor breakfast table, but one by one we slink off to do other things. Another beautiful spring morning at Firmly Rooted comes to an end.