Mitthi Roti

As Ma cleaned up Dadi’s cupboard at our house in Delhi, she found a little bag. It contained three loaves of the “mitthi rotis” that were my Dadi’s signature creations. The ones that my Dadi made were always hard – a consistency closer to a cookie than a normal roti- with a softish centre underneath the crust, they are thick and my Dadi always took care to flavour them with just the right amount of sweetness. Never too sweet, never too bland.

-It had happened a month ago-

Right now, the family was in Vrindavan, spending time with my grandfather who has no desire of moving from our house there to live with either us in Delhi or with my uncle in our ancestral village in Punjab. I,working from home in Delhi ( the office was closed due to the holidays), sauntered into the kitchen to fix myself a snack close to dinner time. Hours of staring at the monitor had given me a headache and I needed to eat something to silence the growling of my hungry belly. I opened the kitchen shelf and there it was.

I still remember that day, I was sitting at the breakfast table with dad, who had to take her to get a PET test done. She was perfectly fine; in great health after her chemo, recovering well and gaining weight. Her Hair was fast growing back to the way it used to be before.

Everything was on track.

Dadi came upstairs to join us for breakfast but instead of taking a seat at the table she ventured into the kitchen and ordered everyone out. She then proceeded to make paranthas for everyone.

Except me, I didn’t eat her paranthas, because I was controlling my fucking carb intake.  I didn’t eat them.

I heard her voice last at around 2 or 3 ( I cant recollect) when I called home to discuss some papers with my dad, they then left for the hospital to get the test done. Some two – three  hours later, at 6, my sister called “Call dad and check, Dadi is not well”

My dad didn’t say much…

As I took one of the rotis out of the Tupperware box, I thought about those paranthas, about Dadi. The silent string of joy at finding something made by Dadi was quickly broken by then sharp blades of reality as seemingly infinite waves of sadness drowned out the light. It’s Diwali, but there are no lights lighting up the house where I sit alone, in silence. As I gobble down the last piece of the Mitthi Roti, knowing I will never feel the caress of the hands that made it again, tears surge, and I remember what dad said.

“Dadi has left”

P.S. : Originally written on Diwali, 2011. In another 9 days it will be a full year, without her presence. Love You Dadi.


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