Love tastes of home; of sweet steel tumblers of filter coffee; of banana chips fried in coconut oil with smoke rising off the surface; of plantain-chickpea fritters, plump and sweet. Of a simple plate of bottle gourd dal and steaming rice with a smidgen of lime pickle and lots of ghee. Of turmeric milk with ginger, drunk on cold mornings, accompanied with much tears and tantrums; of golden mangoes brought to the perfect stage of ripeness in dark cool store rooms; of piles of sweet sticky jackfruit, patiently removed from giant gnarly fruit, by experienced hands and generous amounts of oil. Of creamy pink paayasam, rich and decadent, fit for a wedding; of tangy green mangoes, eaten with a mix of red chilli powder, salt and oil.

Love is in my mother’s hands, my father’s eyes and their voices, raised with exasperation, concern, joy. Love spices and flavors everything Mummy makes, rendering it perfect and memorable. Love is what makes her cook for me and all of us, each day, every day. Love is a young father cooking simple dishes for his two daughters as their mother went to visit her mother. Daddy is no expert cook but the simplest dishes took on such outstanding flavor under his loving hands.

Love tastes like the scents of Mom and Dad and G combined into a wholesome burst of sensations, that never leaves me no matter how old I am or where I live. Love is me and everything I hold dear.