In memory of the love of my life

The love of my life

Last week was my late grandma’s birthday. While I was lighting some incense at her home to wish her a happy birthday, I couldn’t help but smile – because until this day, I still get people asking me all the time: “So, are you married or like a huge LOTR fan?” 

Neither.

But that’s perhaps one of the most common questions I get when I meet someone for the first time because of the gold ring I wear around my neck. I typically give a half-ass explanation as to why I am wearing the golden donut: I’m pretty sure most strangers wouldn’t be REALLY interested (nor have the time) to understand why I am wearing Frodo’s ring.

One Ring to rule them all

Well, since you are here, which indicates that you’re interested or flat-out bored, here’s the unabridged version.

I am fortunate to have a very, very tight-knit family; and by family, I don’t mean just my mom, dad, and brother – I mean, my extended family – my plethora of aunts, uncles, cousins, and most importantly my late grandparents. I lived with one of my grandmothers for the majority of my childhood, and my other was always very nearby – both loved me unconditionally and both were the sweetest people you’d have the pleasure to meet.

Coincidentally, they both gave me gold rings as a child – and since then, I’ve always kept them with me. My grandmothers have since passed – and it was the most difficult of times for me to lose the loves of my life. And so, now, I wear the ring from one of my grandmothers on the necklace that my other grandmother wore.

No, this isn’t a case of a man with a complex – this is just a boy who was fortunate enough to have been loved by two of the greatest women he knows – and who will always keep them by his heart.

The following was something I wrote for my Popo (mom’s mother) after she passed, who I assure you, made the best dumplings I’ve ever had. Many of you have read this one before. Hopefully, like me, you just don’t ever get sick of something so full of flavor.

 

Dumplings

For me
It is usually a simple task
to write about something I love
enjoy and savor
especially when it comes to matters that whet my appetite
I crave the unrefined stench
of raw Sashimi
I salivate at the thought
of the delicate crunch of Shark’s Fin
I even applaud when I see the Shanghainese cook
dress a freshly baked pita with a thin slice of Peking Duck
For me
Writing about any of these delightful delicacies
is as effortless as taking a bite.
But how do I begin to write about dumplings?
those that are found at the heart of every family feast
but seldom celebrated
No, this is not a ballad about fine dining
or an ode to gourmet cuisine,
but a ditty about the most scrumptious, yummy
savoury dumplings I have ever tasted
Shall I mention the crisp and perfect crust,
the perfect and wholesome craftsmanship of the chef,
or the sweet yet salty ingredients within?
Or do I talk about the endless hours
she spent
molding the cute little dimples into the crescent
making the most beautiful masterpiece
ever concocted in any grandmother’s kitchen?
I may as well describe the golden smile
and the ferocious tummy-growl
I surrender
upon seeing, smelling
or even thinking of them.
For me
Her dumplings are the most difficult conception
to write about in all of God’s most delicious creations
I will hunger for them, forever
I will miss them, always
Until I am filled by her presence once again.

 
 

This was for my Mama (dad’s mother) when we were by her side in the hospital.

Time

Time is still
crawling
inching along
like a frail grandmother
dragging her tired frame
across the marathon of time
as I encourage her on the sidelines
Her drawn-out breaths
taking in barely enough life
to sustain her own
Makes me think of life
of time
of how we rush through it
leaping over hurdles
sprinting to the finish line
but what, exactly, are we racing for?
Here i am
looking over her
watching her struggle
a frail grandmother
begging her to take time
go for another lap
screw the finish line
this ain’t no goddamn race
Time is running
sprinting
leaping hurdles
and dragging her along
toward a finish line we refuse to see
ending a race I refuse to acknowledge
as I stand over her bed, begging her to try
If only I could
give her my long-winded breaths
to sustain her’s
to stop time

 
 

So there you have it. J.R.R. will forever be one of my favorite authors, and I always prefer my gold white – but I wear this golden ring in loving memory.
3 Comments:

exceptionally well written..esp. the write up on the dumplings..

Thanks Satyameet :) Really appreciated.

I loved it. Grandparentd are the best humans. It’s like hey just know how to love. Amazing post!

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