To Hades And Back
It was a story of betrayal, uncontrollable lust, possessive love, loss and greed. That was the story of my childhood and the themes of one of the most memorable myths my mother told me as a child.
I've always felt a real empathy with the story of Persephone, who so captured the ardour of Hades that he stole her from her mother. The Lord of the Underworld, Hades, and the Goddess of Abundant Harvest, Demeter, fought a bitter battle of wills over Persephone. In in the end, her fate was decided by 6 ruby gems of pomegranate seeds - forcing her to spend half a year with each combatant. How seedy indeed!
I felt really sorry for Persephone. When I first heard the story I immediately identified with her. I, too, was fought over by the Prince of Darkness aka my father and the Goddess of Overdoneness aka my mum. I, too, had to split my time between them but unlike Persephone, everyone wanted a piece of me so growing up, I was split four-ways and occasionally five-ways. Like Persephone, I suffer from terminal greed as well ... I cannot resist pomegranates.
Surprisingly, they are not that easy to find in the markets here in Singapore and I find myself hoarding my stash of pomegranates when I can find them. I keep having intentions to concoct luscious desserts from them or festive salads a la Nigella Lawson. But I love them so much that by the time I open one up, I can't help but pop each blood-red morsel into my salivating mouth, savouring the burst of tangy-sweet nectar on my tongue as I nibble around the seeds.
Yes, yes, I know the Greeks would consider it vulgar to spit out the seeds, no matter how delicately and discreetly I release them from the tip of my tongue into my paper napkin. But the seeds just ruin the taste for me which is why I indulged only at home.
I recently ate a whole pomegranate in one sitting. I meant to stop but it was an addictive compulsion that would have sent me to Hades forever if I were Persephone.