On The Rocks!

The word ‘Magic’ can be associated with very few things in the world. The things that you look forward to all the time because when you did it for the first time, it was magical. For example, first kisses are always magical, first hugs as well, if done properly.

In 1999, I was thirteen years old when I had my first magical experience. I was spending summer vacations at Grandpa’s home in a village near Indo-Pak Border in Rajouri sector. The trip was magical and life altering in many ways.I met my second Grandma for the first time, who was actually the first wife of my Grandpa. The love she showered on me was unimaginable. She took such good care of me during the days I stayed there as if I was her son rather than her Grandson. It was my first time in a village so I was open to any experience I could have. I went swimming in a river that turned red everytime it rained. Grandma told us anecdotes of why the river bleeds everytime it rains. That rain reminds the river of days when the land was not divided. At the time of partition, the border came into existence and thousands of poles and barbed wires were installed to mark the territories. The land bled and it’s blood flowed downhill and mixed into the river’s water. It was always sad to hear her tales. She had seen the time before independence. She had seen how times changed. The route that was followed by merchants of Kabul and Persia was shut down and now the only merchants that arrived brought death, destruction and hate with them.

She would cry at times, remembering her family and relatives who chose to stay in Pakistan. But then she would thank the Gods for blessing her with a good and comfortable life. In my opinion, there was no comfort in her life. Her husband was an armyman. He would visit home for just three months in a year. At one vacation, he brought a woman with two kids, a boy and a girl, and told her that it was his family from the city who would stay there for few days. He was a drunkard. She lost her son to a disease that was never diagnosed. One of her grandsons was born with physical limitations. Her son-in-law died of a heart disease. Her granddaughter became a widow at the age of 26 or so. One of her grandsons died because of snakebite at the age of 22 or so. Yet, she thanked.

She is as thin as you can imagine someone to be physically possible. I met her earlier this year. I traveled to the village with my daughter, she is six. Grandma broke into a flood of tears when she saw me. I introduced my daughter to her and instantly, I was a bad guy. She started telling my daughter about all the troubles I caused during my various trips to the village. We started laughing and merrying and I was wondering how sharp her mind still was at this age. She must be somewhere between 90-95 years old.

It was a good day spent. I showed my daughter most of the places I had associated memories with. Obviously, the best part was yet to come. It was when we started the journey back to the city. Grandma placed a big white plastic jar in my hands and said, “Now, the two of you must share this.”

Let it be known, I am in love with ghee. Not the one in fancy packing, advertised on TV commercials, but the one that I used to extract from milk along with my Grandma, who was not my real Grandma technically, but what the hell. Anyway, the relations we make out of love are always stronger than the ones we make out of blood.

I opened the jar to let my daughter smell it. She skewed her nose a little bit but it had caught her attention. She looked at me playfully and raised her eyebrows twice. I ran my finger through it and made her have a taste of it.

“It’s not like the one we use at home, it is better”, she realized.

“I used to warm it up a little and drink it on the rocks, you know”, I said.

“Ghee? On the rocks?”

“Funny, isn’t it? Try it sometime, if you ever get a Grandma like mine.”

She will not. I will have to do it for her. I will have to prepare Ghee infront of her to teach her how it is done and then she will definitely fall in love with it.

Until then, I just need to wait till she finds enough time to spend her summer vacations with me.

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