Apictures of spices

Spices are paints gifted from the earth
Illustrating a culture
So vibrant
So rhythmic
So spiritual
It could only match the name of an ocean 

The dabba is their palette
An ode to function and aesthetic
A treasured heirloom singing in silver
Cradling these paints in honored tradition
Concentrically harmonizing past, present and future

This dabba, the keeper of the world’s history
Inviting both traders and invaders
Holding pigments Columbus got lost for
Absorbing new Persian hues and tones
Harnessed to plot a vibrant revolution
Attacking the oppressor in aroma and flavor
Blending them into a brilliant mural
Hanging in the taste of today  

Conducting this dense symphony of colors
The artist, my mother
Destined to color outside the lines
Never parting with her dabba
Holding her heritage in each stroke
Creating her daily masterpiece of
Expression
Resilience
Compassion 

The contrast of black mustard seeds and cumin
Playfully mingling into a warm primer
Capturing the essence of home
Her roots that help her rise

Splashes of red chili powder
Dancing with golden turmeric
The shades of blood, fire and sunsets
Her reminding us to take small beginnings seriously

Black pepper swirling with cardamom
Imbuing tones of gentle intensity
Layering in new dimensions
Her markers of elevated sophistication 

And all at once, the colors collapse into harmony
Releasing a meditative radiance
This visual playground
Becoming more than an identity
Illuminating into an energy
Giving life to my family’s odyssey 

Image via Victoria Wall Harris, Darling Issue No. 6

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