September 1st, 2010 admin
“Ammamma…Boost…”, I would ask her for a hot malt beverage, as she would get busy in her tiny kitchen after her short afternoon nap on the hard concrete floor, with a strategically placed pillow for her head. Ammamma means maternal grandmother in my mother tongue, Telugu. Amma is mom, and ammamma is, literally, momom. She would then get busy preparing the late afternoon coffees for the elders, starting with the eldest – Tatagaru, and Boost for the kids. Although I mostly saw her only over summer holidays, this particular aspect of her routine was probably eternal. In fact, all her routines were seemingly eternal yet inexplicably fresh every time. She would hunker down at the old, grime-laden, two-burner gas stove sitting on the floor of her tiny kitchen and with what seemed like an impossibly tiny collection of utensils, groceries and gadgets, came up with the most exquisite of dishes. Simple fare it always was, and she was not a great cook, but the taste of her cooking was earthy and heavenly. Vegetables of all manner were shallow fried. Coffee and Boost was not served before being poured several times, alternating between two tumblers to generate froth (steamed milk). “Boost tagutawa, Kishtappa, aain?”, she would ask. The “aain?” was kind of like Amitabh Bachchan’s pan-laden mouth confirming something – “aain?”.
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