Maternal Milk and Cloves
Writing by Mahati Ramakrishnan
The chai’s whispers fog the window where paati plants her jasmine, their pure white petals glistening in the balmy Hyderabad sun “Cut the ginger into small pieces, before you do anything else. Then start boiling your water and take out the cloves” The cars passing by didn’t have a clean whooshing sound Yet instead a plethora of honks and smog and yells and dust waltzing in the air “The trick is to add milk into the water while it’s boiling. This way it won’t end up too thick. Then smash the ginger with cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon to release the flavor” My pavadai was pleated underneath me as I sat on cold marble floors that served as an escape from the heat that snuck inside without telling me, though I never have the heart to ask it to leave “To the water and milk mixture, add the black tea Powder and continue to boil before adding In the spices. But add it in a little at a time, ok? What’s the rush, anyway?” The heat lingered against my face as I remembered that tomorrow I would Go back to a place that I was told to call home The marble was no longer a comfort “Fish out the spices with a strainer and serve it. You should make this for your friends at school, kanna.” I wish I knew what the chai was whispering.