Tuesday, July 04, 2006

dinner

Clutching the brush and dustpan she surveyed the sickly brown striations that patterned the linoleum floor. In a far corner of her mind she heard the phone ringing. Probably her mother-in-law checking to see if her darling son had had his dinner.

Tiny mustard seeds that had found the oil too hot had pole vaulted over the rim of the non-stick wok. She liked to think that they had been cheered on by their comrades ‘Don’t worry about us. Save yourselves’.

'Yes’ she thought ‘Save yourselves. We all have to save ourselves.’ Thin green stems, denuded of their pungent curry leaves lay like felled trees. A lone pea stood in the middle of the kitchen floor, searching for kith and kin. She nudged it towards two carrot tops with her toe, but they didn’t seem to have much in common.

She got down on her knees and with long strokes ran the harsh, black bristles of the brush across the floor. The phone was ringing again. ‘Call all you want Amma. No one's answering that phone tonight’. Creeping forward, each square inch of the floor was meticulously covered as she coaxed the errant pea, unfriendly carrot tops and eel like slithers of potato skin in to a tiny heap.

‘Some more subzi dear?’ she called out, wondering whether the words would reach her husband over the din of the quarter-final highlights.

When the usual grunt failed to reach her ears she made her way to the dining table and sat opposite him. He was slumped over his plate, face submerged in rice. His dark, bald head streaked with sambar.

‘Look at the mess you’ve made.’ She chided. ‘I suppose I have to clean up? For once your mother’s right . A woman’s work is never done.’

31 comments:

Nee said...

Yikes! Talk about grim, Shoefiend! Pray tell, what's brought this on?!

Falstaff said...

Oooh! Gorgeous.

You're not going to tell me this is supposed to be depressing and not funny, are you? Oh, and welcome to hell. :-).

30in2005 said...

Very dark indeedy!

alpha said...

man! I hope that's not your answer to my post. paavam sherpa...was such a good buddy etc etc. err..you made him bald before this final act?

Or wait..has he become that domesticated that he laps his rice and sambar by slumping over?

well written. Liked references to mustard seeds. Last line was superb.

tilotamma said...

did he die?

tilotamma said...

did he die?

the wannabe indian punkster said...

I think this is wonderful.
Does that mean Im doomed now?

Shyam said...

My question is not so much "did he die?" as "did she kill him?"

alpha said...

he's dead
she killed him

dont ask silly questions, next it'll be you.

alpha said...

he's dead
she killed him

don't ask silly questions, next it'll be you.

sudha said...

oh my mustard seeds are on war too ever since i moved on to gas from electric stoves - i must figure out a way to stop them from "polevaulting"!

excellent imagery in writing. i never thought that one can spice up quotidien images so much with such excellent analogies to fine details.

pseudonym said...

roald dahl :D
loved this one. write on!

Swathi said...

reminds me of a short story in tamil by the famous author Sujatha and narrated by my dear friend in college (guess it was called 'Iru Kaditham' or something like that)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Nee - :) Nothing really. Just popped out

Falstaff - Thanks. So I land up in hell too huh? Oh well at least I'll have good company :P

30in2005 - :)

Alpha - show this to Pi and instill some fear in him. The sherpa phoned after reading it and asked if he'd done anything lately to piss me off. Also refused to touch last night's dinner and insisted on eating day before's leftovers :) oh and thanks!

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Punkster - Thanks. oh and you have nothing to worry about. Dinner, next Thursday say around 8? I'm making arachavitta sambhar!

Tilo, Shyam - please to refer to alpha's comment no 2. the threats are from her not me!

sudha - Thanks so much! I quite like the pole vaulting mustards... though if yours are troubling you I think you get these wire mesh thingies at Ikea that you can put on top of your kadai/wok whatever when your cooking. sorry my cooking terminology is very poor

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

pseudonym - :D :D :D thanks

swathi - Is there anywhere I can read this story online?

Ravages said...

Hmmmm,
I quite expected a different ending on this. Perhaps a repentant husband calling repeatedly, hoping to take the wifey out for dinner. But no, I suppose this works best.

And like eminent people above me, I really digged the acrobatics of the mustard.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

*shudder*...whoops I mean..err sure, Ill be there! :P

WA said...

Did she kill him because he didn't cut the onions?

ggop said...

I saw a play based on Sujatha's novel same one Swathi mentions earlier. Suhasini as the narrator - reading letters between mother and daughter.

Your short story reminded me of it.

I will observe a moment of silence when the mustard seeds sacrifice their lives today - LOL! :D

Sujatha said...

Enjoyed it SF.

D.N.A. said...

Kill Billish! What's with all "lady like" bloggers taking on/out poor husbands.

Sunil said...

why did he deserve what he got? :-((

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Ravages - 'Perhaps a repentant husband calling repeatedly, hoping to take the wifey out for dinner.'

Then he would have really had it! Most women hate having to prepare a meal only to be put it in the fridge for the next day. Don't ask me why.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Punkster - Don't be late now! That REALLY pisses me off :P

WA - We'll need to ask Alpha that!

ggop - I came across an article on the play with Suhasini when I googled. And the mustard seeds get a moment's silence but not the husband? ;)

sujatha - Thanks

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

DNA - 'Lady like bloggers?' yaaru sonna? (translation - who said?)

sunil - now that's for another story.

D.N.A. said...

ellam oru ugam dhan (all one guess only!)

D.N.A. said...

ellam oru ugam dhan (all one guess only)

dazedandconfused said...

Ooooohhhh....Deliciously morbid! :)

n said...

grim. but brilliant.

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