Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The ungrateful me!

A slip.
A small slip.
Blood started flowing out of the finger where the knife landed.
The sliced onions now looked like beets.

As I sat resting my racing heart and my now-bandaged finger, I thought about my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, who, I know, have been in such situations and worse.  I could easily picture in my mind my mother cutting vegetables and cooking with a finger that is wrapped with a rudimentary cloth bandage which is stained yellow from her trusted Burnol.  

What made me uncomfortable more than my throbbing finger is this: I have not thanked enough my mother, my grandmothers, and my aunts, for all the cuts and burns and everything else through which they worked in the kitchen and produced all those tasty dishes and sweets and savories.  

I suppose I am not different from many others in how such realizations come much later in our lives.  At least, I like to console myself that I am not the only one who failed, and failed miserably at offering my thanks.

It is not as if I can tell my grandmothers how much I appreciate all their work--they are long dead!  The death anniversary of one of them is only a few days away.  Decades have gone by.  But then perhaps that is why we set aside time to remember those who went before us.  At least after they are dead, we will be able to thank them, even though when we missed out when we were young and ungrateful.

Wisdom, unfortunately, arrives way too late in life.  I wish I knew when younger what I know now.  I had become an old, greying, and balding man when during my last visits and phone calls with a great-aunt who died a few years ago, I used food-talk as a way to connect with her and to also slip in my thanks.  "Slip in" because there is no real tradition of offering thanks in the old country's culture.  I, therefore, worded things such that she understood how much I owe her for the phenomenal care, comfort, and security that she provided us along with the tastiest foods.

I finished cooking after a few minutes of rest.  Yes, through the throbbing, which continues even now as I am typing this.  I dread the clean-up that awaits.  But, then I know that my mother never walked away leaving a messy kitchen even if her finger hurt. So, off I go to continue along the path that those who went before me cleared for my ease.

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