On many a sunny afternoon at Grandma’s home, with cousins, partners in crime, I remember tiptoeing to the warm mango pickle jars full of oil shimmering in the lazy sun. As grandma slept, we would steal some and scamper away to our hiding place – a run down shed – to savour the heady concoction of tangy mango infused with spices-an explosion of flavour made magical by Grandma’s hands.
And then some adult would discover us and hurdle us all to bed for a nap. Reluctantly, we would succumb to sleep, grandpa’s hand on our brow. When the siesta would be over, in the sunny verandah we all will sit, sucking juicy mangoes, talking about nothing,talking about everything.
Amidst the of chatter of cousins, uncles and aunties, peace would reign, in the heart,not in the head. For the head would be full of plans for the rest of the afternoon. Afternoons of my childhood were long, and full and never dull.
Now, the afternoons are empty. But the taste of Grandma’s pickle still lingers, the hand on my head still keeps me warm and the long gone chatter still shatters the silence in my soul.