Someone at the table points to the jar
once stuffed to the brim with Mother’s Pickles
but now carefully filled with aged avakaya,
and asks, “What’s that?”
It was a Family Event, four summers ago
I remember being me, my sister shorter,
my parents younger, my grandparents there.
We washed the firm, green mangoes
dried them and diced them
salted and spiced them
turned white flesh to molagu red
and tossed in some kadla
before finishing with coconut oil.
I am raw as mango, not cured like pickle
I haven’t had a dark, dry corner to myself
to settle into the me meant for now
So when someone passes the jar calling it
The weight of wanting to say
“It’s the last of Ammuma’s Avakaya”
is rancid on my tongue.
Meenakshi Nair is a PhD student in comparative literature at UMass Amherst and is from Delhi. She’s interested in cities and memory and has had some of her writing published by The Alipore Post, nether Quarterly, and elsewhere. You can find her on Instagram @meenusbookcase
First published in print in Porridge Magazine Issue V