As much as left-coast-born-and-raised me loves living on the right side of this vast country, there is one situation which inspires a reaction which is more pathetic than independent– being sick. I’m not talking about the sniffles or an errant sneeze or three, I mean, 102 degree fever, rhinitis which resembles a broken faucet and exhaustion which is so powerful, Ambien is envious of its ability to force sleep. I mean, sick sick.
When you’re sick and at home (or near it, even), parents can do what they love to, they can fuss and scold while they bustle about making clucking noises and shaking their heads. There’s something so comforting about the cadence of a mildly-irritated, slightly-worried parent. I tune out the actual words and just follow along until I’ve reached the portal to that ever-running game of subconscious Chutes and Ladders, and then I slide back to baby-hood in a blissful blur.
Don’t hate. You totally do it, too. When you can, that is. But when you are 3,000 miles away, and you are surveying the destruction which is a charitable way to characterize one kleenex-strewn, studio apartment, there is no such succor. We modern, vesternized children who think we know so much, who move so far from mummydaddy, we do the only thing we can. We wallow during those brief moments we’re conscious, reconsider our stubborn and proud refusal to get married already and then, when it’s 4am and we’re awake because the drugs have worn off, we update our Facebook status with something miserable. What, you don’t? Well, I’m kinda glad I did that last thing. I woke up to a post on my wall which immediately cheered me…
I can only suggest the concoction foisted by many mother on her sick, jaded-by-alopathy children, kashayyam:
…and then there was a fantastic link to the substance he suggested.
Inji kashayam, a medicinal drink made with fresh ginger,pepper,coriander seeds and jaggery.This is mother in law’s famous recipe to make us all feel better when we are down with cold,indigestion or even nausea.Simple and easy to make…[link]
Ginger? Pepper? Jaggery? Awww, yeah. You know, I don’t know anything about cricket, I don’t watch Bollywood, I’ve never seen any of those 2nd gen experiments on celluloid which contain various combinations of “American”, “Desi” or “Chai”, but I’m brown in some very persistent, weird ways and this is one of them; I’m talking about the home remedy, the more random and bizarre, the better.
Back when I was a disdainful ten-year old, if you had told me that one day I’d be drinking, nay, CRAVING Jeera-vellam I wouldn’t have believed it. No way. Eeew. Not me. I was too cool for amber-colored water with icky masses of cumin seeds lurking at the bottom of a glass. And yet, there I was last year, 21 years older and determined to steep this mysterious drink, just so. Yes, I know it’s a brew so simple an idiot can make it, but that doesn’t lessen my anxiety, hokay? I was born here. That fact alone has me convinced that I will never be able to replicate my Mother’s legendary Meenkari-with-no-meen.
Anyway, thanks to a darling friend’s sympathetic post on my “wall”, here was another recipe which required ingredients from a store which probably also stocked ladoos (mmm…ladoos), a recipe which would probably work, if for only one reason (but it’s a powerful one, so one is all we need)– it was desi. And someone’s Mom used to make it. And it has nothing to do with medicine, over the counter or otherwise.
Placebo effect? Sure, I won’t dispute that at all. I also won’t dispute the ridiculously smug sense of satisfaction such a concoction summons, as if we have a secret, cultural-velvet-rope-thang. Those moments, when my brain is being boiled by a fever, and when I’m dazed, crazed and amazed at how good pepper, sugar and something I can’t pronounce which was allegedly smuggled in someone’s suitcase can taste…those are the moments when I am consummately down with my brown. Continue reading