Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sun-dried tomatoes

A small piece of rope – blue, plastic- one end tied to one of the pillars of a makeshift shed and the other to a nearby tree, maybe three feet long, or shorter … a few items of clothing hanging , all worn out, not spread out like washing left to dry... more like weary thoughts dumped together.

i saw this image – not so much image as a few feeble lines barely touching- i saw it the third or the fourth day of drying the tomatoes. The tomatoes had started to wilt by then and since the days were long and nights hotter i had felt confident about leaving the tomatoes out till dinner time. The first time i bit into a piece of sun-dried tomatoes in a sandwich hurriedly eaten at a bleak airport lounge it was like tasting the warmth of sunshine caressing the tomato vines, i must make this, i had noted as countless tomatoes ripened and burst on my tongue. Some days later i picked some spotless roma tomatoes, sweet smelling basil and a canning jar at the grocery. Washed and dried, the deep red tomatoes with their soft shining skin were a sight to behold. Cut into halves their insides were achingly beautiful, tints of persimmon and pink with ruby red veins weaving through the flesh and around perfectly shaped seeds. i spread them on a wire rack, sprinkled salt on them and left them out in the balcony. Sun shone on the tomatoes and they quickly wilted and withered, their skin puckered and each red ovals magically took on unique shapes, and by the end of the week i was left with a handful of the most delightful, most zesty sun-dried tomatoes. i packed them in the canning jar filling it up with olive oil and the jar, oh the jar with deep red tomatoes and green basil and plump white garlic and black peppercorn stood on my kitchen counter spurring anyone who looked at it to take up painting.

And those washed out clothes; they still hang warily on to the tiny stretch of time in between sleep and wakefulness, in danger of falling down to oblivion any moment.