"Dora (my paternal grandmother): Dora was a beautiful Goan woman who had spent most of her life in Africa. She didn't look Indian - her hair was dark and thick and curly, and her skin was light like white sand on the beach. I called her Dora because since I was little, I heard my parents calling her by her name. She taught me how to eat chips without making a sound; she would cook a massive pot of crab curry for my brother and myself and put us out on the porch, armed with little hammers because our hands were too small to break the shells. She also had jars of snacks besides her bed, and every evening, after our afternoon nap, we would drink tea and have coconut macaroons and chakli and potato chips. It was great. She didn't study much in a formal school, but knew so much about plants, about gardens, about making things with her hands. She taught me to live with grace, practicality and creativity, and for this I love her.
Aji (my maternal grandmother) is a legit Bombay girl. She learnt to drive a car on Carter Road long before there was anything else there. She had long, beautiful black hair that flowed past her waist and eyebrows that would put Frida Kahlo to shame. Perfect. She grew up with 11 siblings in a beautiful house in Khar, and I only wish I lived there at that time too! I have so many beautiful memories with my Aji - baking pineapple upside cake on summer afternoons; making mango icecream in an old bucket ice cream maker; and more recently, teasing the jackfruit seller next to Tulsi Bagh when he tried to sell us some fruit that wasn't fresh. I also learned to drink Campari when it's hot; put Grand Marnier on my vanilla ice cream and wear tasteful jewellery all the time. My Aji has lived all over the world, and has absorbed the cultures into her being, learning their nuances and intricacies and sharing these with other people! I only hope I can do the same as I too travel and explore the world."
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