Beads on a String
Pramila Madhukar Girme, my maternal grandmother lived in the village of Malinagar. She was 18 when she gave birth to my mother. Neelima Uday Borawake was 32 when she gave birth to me, Shraddha Borawake. 1933 - 1951 -1983 was the generational gap that strung together 3 beads ; grandmother, daughter and grand-daughter. The female energies progressing, autonomously streaming live information through its mitochondria as the cycle of time continues to pass.
Pramila was well known in her community for her culinary skills, infact, inspite of being born and raised in extremely conventional upbringing, as a house wife first and mother second. Yet progressively she became an earning member of her family through her home kitchen. Which was famous, her people were loyal, and her quality was excellent and the practice sustained for 50 odd years. Even for the trappings of such a conservative society of the Mali community, she was independent, dedicated and managed to balance many things to be a success at her passion : Food and Feeding for many moons.
The Oxymoron of Liberation
She had trained my mother, Neelima early on in her life. Perhaps, one of those contradictory actions, where on one hand a conservative thought such as : She as a girl must know her way around in the kitchen so she can feed her family in the future. And another thought : Maybe this skill of culinary business can help her be independent one day. Since they were only 18 years apart, the culture of cooking got passed down and the liberation from generalised as well as genuine trappings of a Maharashtrian woman took a small leap with my mothers generation. Small leap because, (traditional Maharashtrian society IS AND HAS BEEN extremely forward in its thought, many revolutions social, artistic and spiritual have happen in the early ages of evolution) society was changing at a lot less rapidly.
The Giant Leap
The pre teen generation grew up in the the cusp of end of post colonial hangover and begining of globalisation in the early 90's. In this somewhere, my generation has lost track of ancient knowledge. Therefore inspired by this call for attention to Indian identity, the project explores through food and preparation, quality control, daily practices of awareness and consciousness via reference to Hindu mythology and religion an array of edible products and recipes that I have known.
Now, in 2014 we are in the Glocal Local Global Technological Confused Hyper informed Citizen Era; it is time to address roots and be extremely vested in the authentic information gained and carried forward. As an Maharashtrian from the Mali community, my biggest fear is that, I might become a missing link in the passing of information down from my foremothers to the children of the next generation. That information, is temporally and culturally far away, it is scattered everywhere and though it still flows through my veins and cells (since we are looking at the matriarchal link).Some roots have been sacrificed for the sake of growth/progression/ moving forward in the world. Many rituals :- organic, cyclical, in sync with the moon, veneration, prayer and duty were performed every single day by women back in the day, were considered by some, as a trapping. I am now seeking those very same archaic means in the midst of trappings of modernity :- Dependency on material objects, capitalistic thought, image consciousness and the pressure to perform and present impressively for Social Media .
In the quest of roots, one must turn to the mother for all questions regarding origins. All mammals posses a DNA called Mitochondria in their cells, they are the power producers for the cell. They are normally inherited exclusively from the mother; the mitochondria in sperm are usually destroyed by the egg cell after fertilization. DNA is maternally inherited, and gets passed down through women as an unbroken cell link. The female is always directly connected to one another female, at any given time of time or space. Hindu philosophy has a spicier version of this truth, and her name is Lalita Tripura Sundari and she is the Ultimate Mother, the Bindu in the Mandala. Her Nitya's follow the journey of the moon, and their worship is performed for 16 days of every waxing moon. Neelima is the owner of Ku Kooch Ku, a 35 year old establishment with a loyal and vast following all over Maharashtra. Growing up on the farm where her central kitchen is has been a blessing in seeing her take forward what her mother gave her retaining the same honesty to taste and consistent quality to customer.
Repository of Information and the Medium of Memory
Neelima's Kitchen Limited Curry Paste is part of the project Daughter's of the Solstice, where I use the distance between my mother and grandmother (1933 -2013) to seek and call knowledge and cultural observances through creativity in the kitchen, rituals and access to genetic information via spices and cooking from 2 well renowned chefs.