You’ll remember that a few months ago when my Nani passed away I wrote a post about ‘Travelling by Plate when you can’t go home’ and how I took comfort in remembering and cooking some of the dishes she would make to feel a little closer to home.
Sadly three months later I lost my beloved Nana, Dr. Maganlal Chandaria, and yet again I am reminiscing about our good memories together for they would mostly be based around the dining table at his house every time I visited home. Due to Covid 19 I haven’t been able to go home and so it’s been really tough grieving from afar. Writing is one of the ways I can get my feelings out and this month’s Travel link up topic was ‘Memorable meals.’
My Nana was fondly known as “M.M.” and dining with him at his home have been amongst my most memorable and my absolute favourite things to do whenever I was home in Kenya.
The food served would always be traditional, simple, and hearty and there would always be some sort of vegetarian ‘Shaak’ accompanied with freshly made rotli, roti or puri, rice, dal, papad and salad.
There would be raw onions drizzled in lemon with salt and chilli as well as a whole range of pickles to choose from to add to our plates. Both my Nana and I loved these, especially the green chilli ones, and he would often tell me ‘try this one’ or ‘this one.’
After the savoury meal there would be some fruit to indulge in which would range from paw paw (papaya), mango, baby bananas to tangerines.
My Nana’s house and the decor in it has been pretty much the same since my childhood and it has always been a happy place for me. I have spent every school holiday here and later when we moved to Nairobi, even more time.
You will find vintage crockery, an old school radio and a really old fridge in the dining room. It hasn’t changed for the longest time.
Conversations at the table would range from topics about what was going on in my life, the banking industry, to what was going on in his life. He would proudly tell me what exciting projects were upcoming or events he had been invited to as a guest of honour or show me recent articles published about him.
When I was younger we would discuss my grades and plans for university and then when I was nearing finishing my Undergraduate and I hadn’t yet decided what to do he told me to stay in the UK and to apply for a Postgraduate and even then he was specific saying make sure it is a Master of Science. It was the best advice he could have given me for in that 1 year that I moved to Manchester I grew as a person in so many ways.
Even when it came to my grades. I never wanted to disappoint him and so I would always have at the back of my mind that my Nana would be going through my report card and try and do well.
When I started my career in Banking I would be grilled on my life goals and ambitions and what my next step was and when I was going to go for a promotion. My Nana never wanted me to stay comfortable. He wanted me to keep pushing myself, to thrive and to succeed and to go to the next level, especially as a woman in a male-dominated industry.
He was my role model and my inspiration and I have learned so much from him over the years just from our conversations around the dinner table. He has truly shaped me into the person I am and I will forever be grateful for that.
He was so wise and over the years he imparted so much of that wisdom on me and I have learned so many of his good habits! He always told me to give back to the community and less fortunate as much as possible and this is something that I have been trying my best to do over the years.
On my last trip home in February 2019 I didn’t know that it would be the last time we would dine together and I am so grateful that we had some wonderful lunches and dinners together then. I remember telling him about my business and all about my travels and what I had coming up that year and he was so interested and fascinated by it all.
Visiting home will never be the same again without my darling grandfather there but I will cherish these lovely precious memories I had with him for the rest of my life. One day we will be re-united and enjoy a meal and a good natter again!