Every year my parents would take us to Mumbai City for a day of sightseeing. The beautiful Gothic Train station, the enormous Prince of Wales Museum, Kamla Nehru Park that had the Shoe just like the Poem “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe”, Gateway of India, Chowpatty, we would see it all in a day. Tired and exhausted in the evening our last stop would be “Haji Ali Juice Centre” perched on the edge of Arabian Sea, where we would eat Sandwiches and the exotic “Fruit Cream”.
A creamy, delicious delicacy made of chilled Cream with Sugar and lots of fresh fruit it was a treat that we could hardly afford. But my parents would indulge, and we would share a bowl between us. My mother who did not enjoy the creamy dessert would give up after one bite and then my brother, and I would use our spoons in a race to finish the Cream with my mother’s voice ringing in our ears “Papa ko bhi khane do” (let your father also eat). My dad would laugh and would repeat his favorite lines that “He has a Pipe in his stomach that was attached to our bellies, so everytime we ate, he felt full.” And needless to say, the Fruit cream would get demolished between my brother and me, without him taking a single bite.
As I found myself standing in the same spot after many years, with the ability to afford a whole bowl for myself, the salt from the Sea making my lips salty and memories foggy. I took a bite of the decadent Fruit cream, which was still exotic and rich with nuts and fruits but somehow did not taste as delicious, without the pipe that connected my father with us.