Thursday, 8 May 2014

Backwards and forwards

Can one walk backwards and forwards at the same time? Or do the two actions negate each other and make distance disappear, so that you stay in the same place like a tree: torso moving with the wind, toes digging into earth? I have a feeling, a good way of staying centred is to pretend you're riding a unicycle. One-pedal-forward-one-pedal-backward; it's what you need to do to achieve fine balance. To  find your centre-of-gravity. Your rootedness.

Rootedness so often has its root in movement.

My friend Sia, is moving from England, back to India, with her husband and little son. They're going back the way they came; walking in reverse. But towards family and old friends. Towards familiar roads and a well-known rhythm. Towards home. Backwards and forwards.




When Sia asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I had to google 'guest posts'. I've always avoided them; I balk at the responsibility of writing for someone else's space, about someone else's life. But I couldn't say no to this. This is for a very special family; for three people who're headed to a country I too call home. So here I am groping in the dark. Stay with me.

Some of you, many of you, might know Sia well. She's the loving hand behind Monsoon Spice, a blog that is filled with everything its name suggests. A downpour of spices and smells. The clatter of an Indian kitchen. Wisps of nostalgia. And of curry leaves and rain-soaked courtyards. Sia had carried these with her from India when she came to England many years ago, and now, as she, her husband and her lovely boy prepare to pack life into boxes and move back, I wonder if it's her box of red and yellow spices that give her the courage to make this move. If it's the nostalgia which tugs her back; urges her to give her son the taste of a life she grew up with. As she said to me "Time will tell if we've made the right decision".

Yes. All any of us can hope for is to do is what feels right for our lives, right now. 


So, to three very courageous people - for it takes courage to give up your job, sell off your home, say goodbyes and start from scratch - here's to being brave enough to change your course. Of going backwards and forwards at the same time, till you find your balance. Of riding life like a unicycle. So that, no matter where you are, you are rooted to the life that matters to you the most.



Something from back home

As  Sia carefully packs up her kitchen, wraps her spice jars in bubble-wrap, I thought I'd cook her something that, to me, smells like home. This is a dish most Bengalis have grown up with - I certainly have. It's called Panch Mishali-r Torkari: a mix of five (panch) vegetables cooked with a sprinkle of five whole spices (panch phoron). And like all things I cook, this is my version, so puritans, stay calm. It's a very simple dish, usually cooked at the end of the week, when you need to use up the vegetable left in the kitchen. It also makes my home smell of Calcutta, and of my Ma.

Sia comes from the south of India, whereas I come from the East. Our spices are quite different, and so are the smells and taste. So, here's a little piece of my home to take back to hers. Safe journey, Sia. A whole new, wonderful life awaits.

For the recipe, and photographs, of my Panch Mishali, hop on over to my Guest Post on Sia's gorgeous blog. There's no better place for vegetarian and vegan Indian food.








8 comments:

  1. Good luck Sia and family! It's a brave thing to do, but its one of those things as an Expat you find yourself constantly thinking about at times! I hope all goes well! :) x

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  2. Good luck to Sia and her family! Heading over to her blog to read your guest post. :)

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  3. Pia, just dropped by to thank you for such warm and heart warming guest post. Your beautiful words kept me going as we bid goodbye to the country we grew to love. Now as I sit here in my parents' home, surrounded by so much love and happiness, I feel glad for taking this decision. May be it's the mango season that is makinge giddy with happiness... or may be it's my eagerness to welcome the monsoons... or it just may be the loved ones... whatever the reason, any reason to be happy has to be the good reason :) Hope you and your family are enjoying the spring!
    Hugs
    Sia

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    1. Just hearing this little update makes me happy, Sia. Maybe because I can almost see you, feeling at home, enjoying your parents' company (and those mangoes!) Wonderful! This was what it was all about, wasn't it? :)
      Much love to LD - hope he's settling in.
      I can't wait to see your first post from India!

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