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Curry leaves

My first potluck. Awake with the sun, I put curry leaves and mustard in hot oil, and let it sputter. My contribution to the potluck lunch: chili paneer.

Seated around the dining table in a mansion in Greenville, Delaware, some of us sipped white wine, and some others orange juice. There were eight of us. Five women and three children. All united by one thing common: Indian roots.

Some where born in India. Some were born elsewhere but had grandparents, great grandparents who were Indians. We discussed Bollywood movies, spices, history, politics and food. “It’s funny, a sprig of curry leaves here costs $1. Back in India, they would give a bunch of it free with vegetables.”

The smell of chili paneer, chicken curry, and dal puri, filled the room. We ate, even as questions dribbled on the table: “Where was your great grandfather from? What were your Ancestry results? Oh did they loose everything after the India Pakistan partition?”

The children, most born in the United States, munched in silence.

The rest of us talked about Indian weddings, child rearing, the feeling of being away from home… We understood each other, just like we understood the spicy food on the table.

Time to leave. We stepped out, and the hostess let us pinch small sprigs of curry leaves from her plant, to take home. We each held the delicate stems with care. The uprooted plants will soon have another home. Just like each one of us.

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