In this short story, Riddhima Basiya captures the fragility of human relationships and how distance makes hearts grow fonder.
Sun-soaked Cortalim, in bountiful and culture-wealthy South Goa, was Jolene ‘Jolly’ Alvares’ favourite place for the holidays. It was her safe space, a haven of warmth, and belonging; somewhere she could shed her inhibitions and be herself, laugh loudly, walk on the banks of the river Zuari throwing stones into it and creating ripples without any fear of being called silly or childish. Then in the evenings, against the setting sun, she and Suvarna ‘Suvi’ – her best friend, soul sister, and confidante- would take a stroll back on the dusty path back to Suvi’s grandmother’s house.
Suvi-Jolly had been friends for the longest time to the point that people thought of them as sisters. Jolly missed Suvarna terribly when she went home to Cortalim in the holidays. But Suvarna’s vacation also meant that she would return with a bag of goodies stacked with delectable fish pickles, cashew nuts, and secret spice mixes made by her ‘Ajji’ or grandmother; Jolly looked forward to her return with bated breath. Her favourites were the zesty lime, and white onion pickles bottled in glass jars. Jolly glanced fondly at the pickles; the thickened oils glistened in the sunlight, and their translucence made the pickle’s varied ingredients visible.