I am three years old. My eyes are large, my eyelashes sweeping the tops of my cheekbones when I blink. I am watching my ammamma (maternal grandmother) as she sits at the dining table; the bowl in front of her is filled with a mixture of sweet semolina and melted ghee and everything else that is needed to make rava ladoos, one of my favourite sweets. I can smell hot sugar and fried cashew nuts; I can smell a hint of sweet cardamom and spicy clove. I watch as her hands pick up and rhythmically shape even portions of the hot mixture in front of her and I ask, ‘Can I do one?’.

I am lifted into her lap and I nestle against her soft warmth; I feel her cool crisp cotton sari touching my skin. She picks up a small portion of the mixture and blows on it to cool it, working with it quickly in her hands, before she hands it to me. I try to follow the movements as best I can; the roll of her wrists; the way her fingers shape the ladoo before placing it between the palms of both her hands and moving them clockwise, so the ladoo is as round as possible. I show her the wonky thing I am holding and she tells me it is perfect.

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