"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."
Jane Austen

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Jethu, a part of my father. Baba, a part of Jethu. (Jethu's Visit - March 1, 2016)

Those who have read "Muniya's Diary" know what Jethu and his visits mean to us.. Since 1986, which happened to be the first time when my brother and I consciously became aware of who Jethu was and what a visit from him meant, we have seen Baba bringing huge clay pots full of Rasogolla and MishTi doi from Ganguram for Jethu. The choicest things would be cooked in our kitchen along with the simplest things as Jethu is someone who loves everything. Ma would be a happy cook when she has Jethu to feed. The house would throb with happiness and excitement as Jethu's voice, as he spoke to Baba or Thamma or Ma or us would reverberate, and our hearts would jump in joy, trying to soak in every Jethu moment. Today, when Jethu reached our place, I needed to visit the market and Ma was still not out of her Puja room. I asked Jethu to sit in the drawing room where I had put the television on for him. As I entered the sweet shop, a few minutes later, the first thing, I found myself buying was MishTi doi. I uttered the words, and stood numb for a few minutes! Here I was getting MishTi doi for Jethu, as Jethu's dear brother, my Baba, would always get for him. I tried to focus and chose two other types of sweets, Chomchom, and another unknown one which I thought Jethu might love. I got Tok doi as Ma wanted to make doi maachh for Jethu, something which she remembered to make even when Baba was struggling at the Apollo Hospitals. I got a few things that would allow Ma to make a chutney, and all the other things that were needed and hurried home as I did not like the fact that Jethu was sitting alone.
By the time I reached home, Ma had started preparing in the kitchen and Jethu promptly joined her there! Jethu was the one who had for the first time made us realize in 1986 that what Ma does for us in the kitchen everyday is something special. We were surprised kids seeing "normal" things like Ma making fulko luchi being photographed by Jethu. Mundane things like Morich-er Jhol were adored by Jethu and still is! Today, it was no exception. Jethu stood with Ma in the kitchen the entire period, watching her and asking her innumerable questions about each and every recipe she was cooking. Jethu - the most ardent admirer of my mother's cooking and the most inquisitive audience that Ma has ever had in her life! It was from Jethu that we had learned that the kitchen and Ma's cooking was a thing of value and interest. Whenever Ma would be busy doing something else, Jethu would proceed to the oven and hold the ladle, stirring things as he himself is an expert chef. Jethu loved everything Ma had cooked today from Nim-Begun to Moricher Jhol, to Doi maachh, to thoR (banana stem), to Kool-er Tok, to Laal-aalur piThe. Sitting down to have lunch with Jethu, see him enjoy food cooked by Ma, and watching Ma smiling with satisfaction and glee, I felt thankful. For Jethu. For Ma. For one more visit from him. For this afternoon. For the food. For my will to get the mishTi doi. For the dining table made by my Grandfather, Jethu's Kakun. For the fact that some things do not change. I was full with emotions and food.
The highlight of the day - a spontaneous shoulder massage from Jethu that opened up all my knots reminding me of 1989 when Jethu had given me a wonderful massage on the back to release my gastric pain.
Jethu, a part of my father. Baba, a part of Jethu. Histories. Anecdotes. Bloodlines. Genes. Memories. Emotions. Changes. Constants. Time. Endless Love.

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