As a child, I never loved raisins. In fact, cherries and berries were never my favourite fruits.
Every time my aunt would cook vegetable rice with nuts in it, my raisins would quickly end up in my sister’s plate, with a trade in for cashews- her dislike. I would skip spoonsful of raisins in pineapple pudding, nitpicking the pineapples first to serve my taste for the tangy.
This escape at the dinner table was my only chance at skipping raisins. I would graciously offer the cherry of my vanilla pastry to my elder sister. Who would pop them in her mouth almost instantly, knowing how I dislike cherries very well. And only then would I heartily cut through the scrumptious baked yeast flour, and savour the thick cream.
I was never a fan of extra sweet and sappy. So raisins were a no-no. I never did like their puffy sappy surreal taste of sugar and syrup. But burnt raisin cookies I loved. It was like they had the fire I needed. You know?
The only place I liked my sugar, other than in my coffee, and on coconut cookies, was of course, the sugar jar.
I never hated the innocent raisins, do not get me wrong, but my love for them was, let’s say, undiscovered. The mere happiness of getting them out of my plate was filling enough to blow my heart.
So, this happened as a courtesy every time. Raisins out, cashews in. But I believe I never understood the deeper meaning of this sacred affair until now.
More important than not having to have raisins, was the understanding that someone will always be there to fall back on. To help me not do what I do not want to. A spree-a-liser. A friend. A make-me-happy with simple things. A Correct-me-right if something’s wrong. A help-me-get-through. My sister, was not just my rookie to raisin ration, but she saved everything else in my life as well. Of course I didn’t realise this then. That this raisin quota was not just a trade in for dehydrated grapes.
It is only now that she is gone so far away; that I have developed a love for these raisins. For their sweetness, and their sap, and the little sour that I have manifested in them. I have learnt with time to appreciate them, now that my raisin allowance is gone. Eating them bit by bit with care, so that they do not miss their former eater as much as I do. But the anticipation of her returning isn’t gone. And she when she does come, I am sure, she will save us again.