“Ma!” , Snigdha exclaimed excitedly . “Isn’t it Khukhu Pishi’s Flat? A series of memory flashed infront of Snigdha ‘s eyes.Kjukhu Pishi used to stay here with her only son Dhrubo. Surjo Pishomoshai used to travel abroad for months .Sometimes he used to stay away for more than a year. It was Khukhu pishi , who used to single_ handedly manage all the chores, while bringing up her children.
Snigdha was amazed to see the electronic devices like the washing machine and dishwasher being used normally in a Indian household during her first visit . She was highly impressed.Snigdha used to visit Khukhu Pishi as a ritual during their visits to Hyderabad .Usually these tours would be organised during the monsoons, a visit to Pishi’s house would mean that they would get a treat of lipsmacking ‘ Khichuri ‘and ‘Phuluri’ made my Khuku Pishi, something that Snigdha would look forward to ,as Khichuri was her favourite dish on a rainy day. This would be followed by watching an Amitabh Bachchan ‘s Movie being played on the VCR.
” I love the taste of your Khichuri,” Snigdha would say while watching it rain like cats and dogs outside.
Later on the , year when Snigdha’s Paternal Grandmother expired , Khukhu Pishi came to their Quarter in Sirpur during ‘Ekadashi’
” Pishi , ” Snigdha piped in ” Baba is bored of eating doodh Sabu ( sago with milk) on every Ekadashi. As you know he loves eating Khichudi’ a lot ,but as it is made of rice he can never eat it during ‘Ekadasis’. Can you please suggest an alternative. “
Khukhu Pishi’s face lit up . Like the petrichor aroma after a long summer brings relief , so did her magical Khichuri make everyone feel relieved on that day.
She just asked Jaya, Snigdha’s mother
” Do you have sago , some moong dal and vegetables like cauliflower , carrot , beans and potatoes? I can teach you how to make a ‘ Khichuri’ using these ingredients.”
The pitter patter of raindrops outside created an amazing ambience to relish the taste of the ‘Sago Khichuri’. They floated a few paper boats on the streams of water collected on the lane, behind their quarter.
Snigdha declared ” Khukhu Pishi makes the best Khichuri on a rainy day.”
It had been around fifteen years since Khukhu Pishi had expired after suffering with cancer . On that rainy day , Snigdha and Jaya happened to visit Moulali.They stopped by to look at Khukhu Pishi’s flat. Now , another family lived there. Yet those moments of spending the rainy days at Khukhu Pishi’s flat vividly flashed infront of Snigdha,’s eyes, especially the taste of her immortal Khichuri haunted her.
That night Jaya returned home and prepared Khichuri and Phuluris for dinner.The flavours of the khichuri wafted along with the rain.
“Ma ,” Snigdha exclaimed delightfully”it smells the same as Khukhu Pishi used to make isn’t it?”
Khukhu Pishi was not there but her simple dish of Khichuri lived on like her simplicity.
Pishi _ Paternal Aunt
Pishomoshai _ Paternal Aunt’s husband
Ekadashi _ The Eleventh Tithi or Lunar Day
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