These past few weeks, I have been waking sans alarm, feeling rested and refreshed. I walk down softly, my footfalls muffled by the carpeting as I cross Laddu’s room and then Ammu and Pattu’s rooms. I am tempted to peek in but I move on, intent on savoring the few minutes of me time I can sneak in before the day begins. I set the water to boil for my coffee, dig out the traditional two piece filter and scoop coffee grounds into it. I remember to cover it and turn my attention to the dishwasher while I wait for the trademark sizzle of water heating and bubbling. I take a break, pour the water into the filter in a thin trickle, going in circles savoring the aroma even as the water sizzles and crackles as it pours over the heated rim. There is something very calming about a ritual like this.
I sit on the patio sometimes, watching the bird fly in and out of the trees, chirping and carrying on. Sometimes, I watch a herd of deer cavort less than 25 feet from where I sit, their ears alert and ready to fly at the slightest movement from me. The steam from the coffee is intoxicating. I inhale deeply and sip slowly, enjoying the warmth as it traces a path to my gut. I look back at my childhood and realize this is one of the memories that will always remain of my amma. Of steel filters, potent decoction, steamed milk and the few minutes of quiet before the cacophony begins. Looking back, I realize the coffee-making was the one part of the day she could claim for herself. First decoction coffee, The Hindu and quiet.
I finish my coffee and walk back in reluctantly. I rinse out the cup and get started on breakfast and lunch. I hear noises from above signaling that the kids are up and so is their dad. I set out mugs for milk and for a brief moment imagine a time when the kids have flown the coop. And I go on with the rest of the day.