By Kimaya Bhuta
Four walls, clay pots, the pressure cooker hissing, as my mother pounds the tulsi leaves on the mortar. She tells me, “તમારંુદૂધ ઠંડુથાય તેપહલે ા પી લો”1. My feet drag my body to the fragrant kitchen, where the crisp air is overwhelmed by notes of piercing, bitter clove amidst the lemony aroma.
I stare into the looking glass, where a storm of Horlicks chocolate powder twirls in a cup of warm milk, the tiny fragments not fully blended in as they wander aimlessly, as clueless as I. The saffron milk refused to let the powder into its embrace, drifting the powder off to the edges of the mug where it clutched on for dear life.
I see myself in that glass, a spoonful of the essence. Brown, sweet, somewhat a nuisance.
I could imagine how the powder felt, begging the milk to accept it, to let it blend in. It was as if the powder was contaminating it, like the dirty soil of the Earth seeping into a sparkling river down the quay.
The taste in my mouth never felt so bitter, like a stinging pinch to my mother tongue, for imported goods never touch the local heart. To me, my culture was nothing but a sandstone ruin, I felt ashamed, I blamed myself over and over, just some scattered chocolate powder, I abandoned my language, called my heritage useless.
But now I realise that the dirty brown soil is what gives us all life, and as the chocolate milk warmed my chocolate heart, I knew that this powder was mine, my very own, and that this salivating chocolate milk loved by many and more would cease to exist without its beloved, its brown chocolate powder.
1“Drink your milk before it gets cold” in Gujarati
Kimaya Bhuta is currently a Literary Arts student at School of the Arts, Singapore. Her natural habitat is a room full of dimly lit candles in which she likes to write poetry and also Kinokuniya where she likes to dabble in reading different genres. In her free time, she likes to play chess, scroll through reddit for hours on end and fall into philosophy rabbit holes.