Mother’s Kitchen


Ma hated cooking. Domestic spirits haunted her.
She did it alright. Paper thin dosas on which her words wouldn’t stay.
Peanut chutney for daddy. Coconut chutney for me.
Ma didn’t mind. Or we didn’t ask.

Ma hated cooking. The milk boiling didn’t make her day.
She did it alright.  Guests praised her desserts.
“Obviously, she is so sweet. How could her desserts be bad? “
Rabdi and halwa and gulab jamums. Shortbread and ice-cream.
Sugar tins were refilled but Ma was somewhat sour.

Ma hated cooking. Her kitchen was spotless and clean.
Bags of processed vegetables sat in her freezer, unclaimed.
Her counter-top gleamed like a mirror.
“The pav-bhaji is a dream come true, Ma! ” we chorused.
Reflections of jullienned ambitions never answered.

Ma hated cooking. The pantry was always stocked.
Ma’s pizza always reached us before the pizza boy’s.
Extra cheese. Pineapples. Jalapenos. She never ran out.
Then again, running out isn’t always about ingredients.
Sisyphus smiled emphathetically as we all said, “One more!”

Ma hated cooking. She loved her morning coffee, though.
I don’t. Love coffee, I mean.
I love cooking, though. Incomplete legacies.
I’m told that I cook like Ma.
But something is always missing.
Love? But not love?

I cook because I love the kitchen.
Ma cooked because she loved us.
My mom ‘s kitchen is as much a reminder of love as the Taj Mahal.
My mom ‘s kitchen is where I learnt selflessness.
My mom’s kitchen smells of hot coffee, compromise and home.

– By Lavanya Krishna


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