Rasam

She watched as the reddish brown liquid slowly trickled down the drain. Her tomato rasam had gone wrong even this time. It never tasted like she wanted it to be. Never like her mother’s. No matter what she did. She knew she couldn’t ever manage to make it like that, but she had to try, if only to face the failure again and again.

She remembered the countless days, as a child when she rushed back from school because she knew her mother had made rasam. She used to have it with rice and then drink up a bowl full like it was some therapeutic soup. She absolutely loved it. Everyone in her family knew her love for rasam. Aunties and grannies at times tried to entice her with promises of rasam at their homes. But no one made it like her mom and so she never had rasam at their places.

Then she had to leave for higher studies. Every time she returned for holidays, her mom greeted her with rasam. Then she got a job and the prospect of returning to her hometown and to her mom’s rasam dimmed by the day. So she got the recipe from her mom and started making it on her own. Her rasam was a hit among friends. At every house party, she was the official cook and she would call up her mom and thank her for teaching her such a beautiful thing. Her new friends had become her new life. And one day Abhishek walked into this life. Abhishek with his shy demeanour and soothing voice. It started with cute smses. The smses became long phone calls and the phone calls translated to long walks by the beach and soon they were in love. Abhishek told her later that she entered his heart via a bowl of rasam. Nothing could have been more beautiful.

She couldn’t imagine life without him. But her parents wouldn’t hear of it. She tried convincing them. Abhishek tried to pacify them. But they wouldn’t budge. Her mother who had never raised her voice at her, had raised a hand. Still she thought that maybe they would agree after a time. She married Abhishek.

It had been ten years and every week she tried to cook rasam. Abhishek had always liked it, but it never felt right to her. So after a year she had stopped serving it to him. But she still made it, hoping to get it right. If only the masala was right, if only she had waited some more for it to boil, if only the colour was a bit darker, if only the tomatoes were juicer. If only, her mother took her calls. The rasam drained away…

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