History Can Be Comforting

A fish bone got stuck in my throat one afternoon at lunch.
Not exactly panic, but something was mounting to give way to panic.
I imagined something — if I could stick two fingers down my throat to pull out the bone, not only that would have saved time, but it would have also made me happy that I could do what I imagined.
However, reality was carefully attuning to the solutions that poured in from every direction—
Granny told me to gulp down a firm ball of rice, Ma offered a banana and Baba made several rounds to the kitchen to get glasses of water.

I attempted them all,
But all I could feel was a scream of discomfort, building up from below my throat.
I kept swallowing medium-sized balls of rice as I felt they pushed the bone, inch by inch, rightly into the route to my tummy.
By then, Granny had started sharing stories from my mother’s childhood that related to situations like these.

How fish was rarely bought from the market, but were caught from village ponds.
Fresh and fleshy,
their bones were thicker.
Cooked in large pots — not for four, but for families; joint families.
Lunch was a routine celebration of things silly and pure.
No one got stuck with a fish bone in their throat
and if anyone did, no-frills home remedies were quickly found.
I got so deeply lost in these stories that I forgot that the bone had long before made its way to my tummy.
Only an urge to listen more about the past was felt now.

Anushua Aich is a recent postgraduate from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

Featured image: Jacqueline Martinez/Unsplash