Ingredients of Identity

Exploring and rediscovering lost memories through the actions of my grandmother. Attempting to recreate the smell and the taste, while along the way I change and adapt. In this pursuit, I also find myself diving into an exploration, seeking answers about my lost culture. The journey becomes a dual narrative - not just about recreating flavors but also about uncovering the rich layers of a culture left behind. Each step forward is a bridge to the past, a process to understand and preserve the cultural threads that weave through my identity.

In a South Asian home, the tradition of sharing meals and cooking with various herbs and spices is significant, something I didn't really consider much before. Occasionally, I'd reflect on a particular dish, like "Korma," and how my grandmother used to make it, with the onions having a sweet taste. Despite efforts, no one in the family could replicate that flavor, and we would still talk about it even after many years.

During the pandemic in Karachi, I working on a film about the lockdown and the effect of it on people, but faced numerous restrictions. It often felt like every day was the same, and my perspective on life, as well as my approach to filming and storytelling, underwent a change. Emerging from the pandemic was challenging, and this project became a way to connect those habits and actions with life before the pandemic, searching for lost memories.

The video's vertical format was chosen because during the pandemic, most of our view of the outside world was through our phones and social media. This format also symbolizes that window into my grandmother's kitchen, visually representing my memories. Each loop in the video begins similarly but transforms, reflecting my adaptation to a new place with the resources available.

Moreover, this exploration is not about achieving a perfect recreation. It's an ongoing journey, and I intend to continue exploring in different ways as long as these memories linger. This process is not just about recapturing the past but also about rediscovering lost cultural practices, drawing parallels to the impact of colonization in the subcontinent, where many cultural traditions were erased. In a way, it's an attempt to find a new home away from home while reconnecting with the cultural that I feel is lost.