My very first memory of my mother in law’s cooking, was that of carrot chutney. Since then onwards I have become a huge fan of this dish and so has the intensity of bonding with my mother-in-law.
At first, I was surprised to know that this tangy chutney was indeed ‘carrot chutney’. The only dish which my mother has made with carrots is: carrot coconut curry and gajar ka halwa (the popular Indian dessert made with carrots, milk and sugar)
My Attaigaru (mother-in-law) continues makes simple and unpretentious dishes which are enveloped by her love, especially her tangy chutneys and pickles are very tasty and popular. Carrot chutney is one such dish. Infact ‘I consider it as ‘soul food’ – completely satiating.
Living with a lady who knows your husband is very well, is not easy. Especially when you get married, you want to be the cynosure of your husband and not anybody else. But over the years, I have evolved as a person and as a mother. Also, my mother –in-law has accepted me as I am – carefree (For me, toe rings are a big no-no bare and minimal jewelry only) She always and continues to bear up with my whimsical cooking skills. Not to mention my forgetful nature especially when I am cooking. e.g forgetting to switch of the gas when heating milk!
She is very apt at starting a conversation and never tires of telling stories. One of her sayings which she often quotes relating to her lifelong experience of raising six kids and being confined to the house and kitchen is: Kadupu Kailasham, Illu vaikuntham. In English it means: Our stomach is like Kailash parvat (the holy abode where Lord Shiva resides) and our home is like Vaikuntham (the divine residence of Lord Krishna) She quotes this, as though she would have loved to visit more holy shrines, she could not do so, due to her family responsibilities and now her age, does not permit much mobility and physical exertion.
‘Attaigaru’, after my marriage continued to hold of the reins of our house, especially the kitchen. It definitely made sense as we were living together and I was a busy working professional. For two years, this seemed fine to me. But later, I wanted more control over the home matters and this led to some misunderstandings on a minor note. But later, over the course of 5 years, I experienced motherhood and started understanding my mother in law in the true sense. For, I too understood what a mother’s love is about after I was blessed with a daughter. I could truly comprehend how possessive a mother is about her child. Moreover, my husband happens to be her youngest kid.
I realized that she is a warm and very loving person. Moreover, she is very forgiving. The one main aspect about her personality is that she never keeps grudges. Also, in the past 12 years since I have known her and lived with her, I have never seen her nagging about any matter. This is indeed one of the biggest plus point about her!
Today, we share a very strong rapport and continue bonding over peaceful lunches especially when I am at home on Saturday’s (and hubby is away at work)
Amongst her many good qualities, I aspire to mainly imbibe her trait of being content and cooking swiftly! And I continue to relish her dishes, especially her signature dish – carrot pacchadi.
I hope every woman is blessed like a mother in law like my ‘Attaigaru’!