Nani has begun dreaming again.Since she began recounting her life, she’s been having dreams of her youth.She dreams…
Posted by Laremy Lee on Saturday, 11 July 2015
Nani has begun dreaming again.
Since she began recounting her life, she’s been having dreams of her youth.
She dreams about 1930s Sindh, in what was still India, and not yet Pakistan.
In them, she recalls the freedom of childhood and being a child: how she and her friends ran races, played games like dog and bone, how they roamed the streets of Hyderabad – courageously, in all their urchin-like temerity.
She remembers fearlessness: her father never scolded her so she was very brave; her mother would back down whenever Nani stood up to her – which was often.
There were neither borders nor obligations; no boundaries to be afraid of crossing.
Most of all, she remembers the freedom.
Were you happy, Nani, we ask.
“Khush,” she says, spreading her gnarled fingers in an expanse of expression. Happy.
“Ma free has; ma sochandas ma free aayah.”
“I was free,” she said. “I would think then, ‘I am free.'”
A Taste of Home: Moong Ki Dhal
By Laremy Lee
Despite speaking disparate tongues, food bridges different generations and brings this family together.
“Where did she put it?” my grandmother asked in Sindhi, as she rummaged through the freezer.
“Put what?” I asked my grandmother in English, watching her with curious eyes.
“Methi, methi,” she replied.
“Methi?” I asked, perplexed. “What’s methi?”
While I’ve heard of this spice, I couldn’t cross-reference its name in Sindhi with its English name, and hence, picture how it looked like.
“Biji, biji,” she said, using the Malay term for seeds as she continued rummaging through the freezer.
Methi? Seeds? I thought to myself, puzzled, wondering how I could avert this potential crisis in the kitchen.
Alas, too late. My grandmother sighed dramatically before announcing to no one in particular, her voice slightly muffled by the still-open freezer door: “I don’t know where Shanta put.”
Turning to Google for explanation, I soon found my answer…
“Muff-la,” she proclaimed proudly.
For whom, we asked.
“Santo,” she said, referring to her second-youngest grandchild. “Because it’s cold in Australia.”
Where did you get the wool from, we asked.
“It’s Baba’s,” she said, referring to our deceased grandfather.
So my very lucky cousin will get to wear this piece of diasporic Sindhi history around his neck!
But not in this way, I hope.