Nothing beats homemade curry rice by my father on a rainy day.
Except maybe my mother’s omelette with long beans.
The understated notes of black pepper and paprika, loaded with curry powder and onions, you could taste from the potatoes cooked till the right ‘doneness’. (In my family, everything has a certain type of doneness, even potatoes). My parents are amazing. We fight, we disagree, we annoy the hell out of each other and it’s not always smooth sailing, but I love them to bits.
Mummy is quite the feisty one, she grew up in challenging situations and she figured out her life independently. She was harsh, she challenged me, but made me as independent as her. I would describe our relationship kind of like tough love. She taught me sometimes the person with the harshest words love you the most. The one who taught me how to protect myself yet protected me when odds were not in my favor. The one who wrote my Chinese words for me to submit but then made me write another page to show her that I learned. The one who showed me Chinese was not intimidating and made me passionate about it. Her who sacrificed her youth and drive to raise us to adults.
Daddy is quite the non-confrontational one. The peacekeeper. The one who would draw with me when I cannot figure out how to draw ducks at 4 years old. The one that would ask and understand my exploratory paintings even when it looks like strange streaks of color. The one that would fetch me to school. The one that would wake up to wake me up. The one who shows me acts of service makes love the real deal. The one that shows me he does it, not because he thinks I cannot do it but wants to genuinely show his concern. He inspires me to be humble and appreciative. He cooks great meals, but he almost never cooks. My mother used to cook frequently, and each time he shows his eagerness to enjoy my mum’s cooking. He taught me sacrifice, because I learned that his family is his duty. He used to play the guitar, but I’ve only seen him played once when I was a kid.
Each day I learn more about my parents. I understand them more. I’m glad I never gave up on communicating, despite how difficult it was at various phases. Because of them, I understood what love is to me.
Love is consistent, anything else, that is not love.
Love is a series of deliberate choices, moments, consistent considerations, that you show each other, and thereby translating to bulks of good, positive feelings. It is not induced by feelings, it induces feelings.
Love is not winning, if you see her upset.
It is not instant – like the moment you get together – that’s being a pushover. It’s an understanding. It wouldn’t happen overnight, people fight, quarrel and learn each other’s boundaries. We learn by being honest with each other. Teach each other that aggression is toxin to the soul, accept and make a conscious effort to want to work it out with them.
Love is understated, classy and timeless.
Love is not always showy and grand. They disguise themselves as nags, reminders and bland food, if they make you the better person you want to be. Love volunteers their services even if it sometimes means going out of their way to make your life a little better. They also end it with a smile. Or perhaps, a pouty glare or rolling eyes when we fucked up, but still solves the problem and laugh at your silliness together at the end of the day. They always kiss you goodnight. It withstands time because they won’t change in their quality of love. And we never take it for granted.
The best kind of love makes you feel warm, and yet you received it delicately like it is soft and fluffy. It fills you up, like you got a fresh set of lives on Super Mario, and leave you with smiles of satisfaction. Perhaps, just like the most perfect meal I could ask for – curry chicken rice and omelette with long bean.