Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

The feast

First published on #ArtoonsInn

The phone rang shrilly disturbing the Saturday afternoon siesta of Mr. and Mrs. Braganza. The Mrs. answered.

“Hello…oh hi, Maria. How are you?…Oh, a feast. So nice of you…yes, yes, we will certainly come tomorrow.”

“Who was it, Julia?”, asked Tony or Mr. Braganza.

“Mrs. Robinson has planned a feast tomorrow noon. She has invited us.”

“Sure. We will go”, Tony stretched as he yawned. Then added, “But Mr. Robinson is not seen since yesterday. Is he there tomorrow?”

“I don’t know. Even I was wondering”, replied Julia.

“Who else has she invited? If it’s a feast, there would be more invitees.”

“Yes, there would be, of course. But I didn’t ask.”

Then with a twinkle in her eyes, added “I hope she treats us to her pork preparation…or Kheema. Yummy”.

“Stop it, will you. You are making me hungry already.”, Tony admonished his wife playfully.

“Evening, I am going to Seb’s home. Will be back by 9.00-9.30.”

“You and Sebastian. Two sides of the same coin. A coin which guzzles alcohol. Can’t you control your urges on atleast one Saturday?”, and then added, “Spend atleast one Saturday evening with me, Mr. Braganza. See how I keep you entertained.”

Tony pushed her away. Nothing ever came between him, Seb and the Saturday evening bottle.

Most Saturday’s, once Tony left for Seb’s home, Julia rushed to her rendevous with her paramour. She tried to reach him but his phone was switched off.

—-

Mrs. Robinson woke up early on Sunday. A few select family friends were invited for lunch and she had no help in arranging everything. She desired no help.

Bad luck, Rem, her husband, was going to miss this feast.

The previous evening she had arranged the finest wine from the neighborhood brewery. The friends loved the Kheema (mincemeat) and she was not going to disappoint them.

She decided to have her bath later, once she had prepared the mutton dishes. As she took out the meat from the deep freezer, she remembered her husband’s love for her cooking, the way he slurped his fingers like a child. The image brought a smile to her face. So sad, he was going to miss this feast.

She stripped the meat from the bones, her hands shaking with the effort. Most of the meat went into the grinder which strained with the effort. But Julia loved her pieces and some were saved for her.

Mixing the masalas, she cooked up a delicious menu in a trance. In two hours she was done, sweating profusely.

Time for the bath. She indulged herself in the bathtub, scrubbing her hands vigorously with the scrubber and soap. She didn’t want herself to smell of meat in front of her guests.

Finally, with dollops of makeup, she was ready to face her guests.

The doorbell rang. It was the Fernandes’ couple. The customary air kisses were exchanged.

The Pinto’s were the next to arrive followed by the Braganza’s.

Then Maria, aka Mrs. Robinson, started her welcome speech.

“Welcome everyone. First of all I thank you, for keeping everything aside and honouring me with your presence…”

Julia intervened, “Oh, Maria, no one in their right senses would miss your culinary delights. Don’t worry, we are here for our selfish interests”, and the house dissolved into a bout of boisterous laughter.

“Hey, but we are certainly missing that scoundrel, Rem. Where has he gone into hiding”, asked Mr. Pinto.

“Oh, did I not tell you. He had to go to Mumbai for some urgent office work on Friday morning. I spoke to him yesterday, he should be back tomorrow evening. But don’t worry about him, he asked me to go ahead with this feast. He said, he would be there with us in spirit.” Then Maria added, a smile lining her eyes, “You know, of the liquid kind”.

“Naughty boy. Let me call him.” Charles Fernandez fished out his phone.

“Switched off. I tell you Maria, he is upto no good. Are you sure he is on official duty? Smells more like an affair, doesn’t it Tony?”

Tony guffawed loudly as he jokingly reprimanded Charles, “Charlie boy. Do you want to be thrown out of the house? Accusing the owner of the house of dirty deeds, you scoundrel. Say sorry to the high command.”

“Oh, sorry Mrs. Robinson. Not a word out of me now, no bad mouthing Rem. Now I will do that only after partaking the feast which you have conjured up for us.”, and so the banter continued till it was lunch time.

At the lunch table, the couples sat near each other. An empty wine glass, placed near the plates, gave an inkling of the spirit to follow a sumptuous meal. The aroma of the Kheema was already wafting from the kitchen, permeating their senses.

“Umm, Maria…my stomach is full, just the aroma is enough”, said Julia.

“Oh, no, no. That will certainly not do, my friend. All this effort is for you”, smiled Maria.

“But why are you standing, Maria. Join us.”

“I always fast on a Sunday. Don’t worry about me. I would be satiated once you have had your fill”, Maria answered.

“Not fair. We forgot. You should not have kept the Feast on a Sunday.”

But soon, everyone was feasting on the sumptuous Kheema spread. Oh, how Maria loved those slurping sounds made by her guests.

“Move over Tony. I am going to feed my friend Julia, some of the best mutton pieces.”

And she just pushed Tony out of his seat. Everyone laughed as Maria occupied the neighbouring chair and started feeding Julia.

Everyone cheered as one mutton piece disappeared followed by the next.

Suddenly Maria’s feeding took in a violent frenzy. She was now force feeding Julia.

“Eat…eat him. Eat Rem. Don’t you like it. I am serving your lover to you on a platter. Isn’t he tasty enough?”, she screamed as the guests started vomiting one after the other.

humour, Uncategorized

Eggomania

Any and every reason is enough for couples to go their separate ways. Many times, it is either of those MIL’s who trigger the domestic warfare. Other times, it is their own egos; they will have their own disparate dreams.

Sometimes, the husband would be an abusive, possessive personality trying to subdue his wife while other times, the wife would be a conniving, gold digger.

But many times, a divorce is a mature decision reached by two adults, who no longer find that elusive spark in their relationship, or whose passion has fizzled out.

Then there are those who separate for the flimsiest of the reasons.

Some couples are just not destined to stay together just like the couple which was in the papers recently.

Here’s the story…

Mangala was a foodie in her childhood. But both her working parents were of simple means. While father worked as a cleaner on long distance trucks, mother was a maid in the high-rise nearby.

Father would be at home only once every fifteen days but he doted on his child. Mangala would be very excited when her father came home, as he was sure to bring those bright, white eggs which she loved to eat. Eating them, either in their boiled, salted form or as a scrambled omelette, she was hooked on them.

Thus the years went by and she reached the marriageable age. And soon she was married off to Mangaldas, a daily wage plumber from the nearby shanty.

Soon, the first flush of arranged romance wore off and the challenges of daily grind stared at them. It helped that Mangaldas was miserly and a teetotaller with a mature head on his shoulders.

But being stingy had its disadvantages, especially for Mangala.

All varieties of vegetables were welcomed in the house but whenever she bought eggs, Mangaldas flared up. “Why do you insist on eating so many eggs every alternate day. Do you know how I toil to make ends meet; to put food on the table? And you waste everything on these eggs! That too, daily! If you want to stay in my house, these eggs will not enter.”

Poor Mangala. What was she to do? Her father had made her fall in love with eggs and then made her marry an egg hater. How her fate had turned!

So she wallowed in self pity, but not for long. One day, the egg seller Mangal, from the street corner, came home with half a dozen eggs.

“Bhabhiji, you did not come for many days for the eggs. I was wondering what happened so I thought, why not the egg seller go to the customer?”, asked Mangal slyly, as his eyes wandered over her comely figure, a smile plastered on his face.

“Oh, so sweet of you to do that. But, alas! My husband won’t allow that.” So saying, Mangala pushed back his hands which held the eggs, to refuse them.

“Oh, don’t worry. You eat them now while he is not at home”, and as he said this, he pushed the eggs into her hand, while brushing his arm against her waist.

Mangala wasn’t sure what was more enticing; the eggs in her hands or his hairy arm against her waist and she yielded unknowingly. Thereafter, they both had their fill of their eggs, which they yearned for.

This became a regular feature when they exchanged eggs every afternoon in the absence of Mangaldas.

Mangaldas was suspicious of some kitchen shenanigans as it smelled of eggs every other day but there was no outgo from his purse, surprisingly.

But one day, when he came home Mangala was missing and when she did not turn up even after a few hours, he was worried. As he searched in the neighborhood he did not notice the curious absence of a certain egg seller at the street corner.

When a worried and hungry Mangaldas returned home, he espied a neatly folded paper on the cot.

“I love eggs. But you never let me have them. I have found someone who enjoys providing me with the eggs and is not stingy like you. So alvida. We have opened our own poultry farm in the countryside. Don’t search for me and don’t follow me…”

Mangaldas collapsed on the cot, stunned.

humour, Uncategorized

UFO

I am sure you all have encounters with U.F.O. …Surprised!!

In domestic flights it is commonly known as”Veg” or “Non-Veg”. For me it is”Unidentified Food Object”.

Especially, if you travel during meal times, you are served a so-called meal. It consists of a “Chapati” which you have to tear apart with both hands to put it in your mouth and then you need to have strong healthy teeth to chew…god help the person who is not so well endowed in his mouth …then there is the rice. If it is just steamed rice, you are in luck, but if it is jeera rice, it’s another struggle. Since the jeera is so hard it will find its way to get stuck in the teeth…wherever they get the chance, just like people rushing into a bus to find open spaces for themselves to sit. At least the people get down when they reach their destinations, but here, the jeera has to be pushed and prodded into leaving it’s cosy space between the teeth.

The sweet served and the cup of readymade curds is just fine, but what is served on the two opposite sides of the rice, only the caterers of the respective airlines, know. You can neither identify it from its visual effect nor its taste.

You somehow try to mix it with the rice and push it down your throat. And nowadays they serve a joke called a scratch gift coupon along with your meal, the less said about it the better…i am sure you will agree with me.
Yatindra Tawde