There are maids and there are maids..and then there is mine.
She is young and sweet. Lovely as well. Loving too. Rushes to get me a tissue as soon my early morning bout of a 97 sneezes is onto its third or so. What she cannot do however is make tea..Can you believe that ? Tea ..I have tried, to train her with measure cups and special milk. But like mom says..She just does not have it in her to make an “Aha” cuppa. So we are onto Twinings or Green tea these days.
It doesn’t end here. Her idiosyncrasies I mean. We happen to live in a space with huge sprawling mango trees, presently heavy with fruit. The glee on her flushed face, is noteworthy when she looks skywards and sees them within aams reach. . sorry.. arms reach.
The bare mention of ‘Aam”, and she appears almost magically, rosy cheeked, wide smile , awaiting permission to go to the terrace, climb on to a branch or so and come back loaded with booty. Needless to say, to get her to respond to one’s calls otherwise is a formidable task . Especially , since she decided to decipher the workings of the remote controlled bell, in such great detail , that it has since been lying around partaken to pieces, in unsung glory.
Ah Yes.. the mangoes. All I advised her was to shred a dozen or so for the ‘chhunda’ (sweet and sour mango chutney) which I love to prepare and a dozen for the ‘panna’ ( cooling drink from raw mangoes) for hubby and son. Since there were quite a few left and rather large ones, I said to her, in these precise words “Chaawal me rakh do, pak jaayenge”.
Soon Dinner was announced. We assembled in the dining room, with great anticipation since Hubby had decided to prepare his Special “Roghan Josh”, the recipe he had proudly proclaimed a few dozen times since mid morning, was from the maharajahs personal chef and the ‘AUTHENTIC’ Roghan josh. The aroma was killing and the look was devastatingly yummy. Recommended accompaniment was rice, which incidentally the maid had mastered the art of preparing, as also the vegetarian fare.
I lifted the lid of the rice casserole to serve my deliriously hungry, excited family. I looked closer. Something seemed strange. What were these huge boulder like formations in the rice. Potatoes..? Naah..and the rice was soo.. soo.. gooeey. How? Why? It was that same Basmati, exported to Dubai, or so the ads claimed..
There was just one person who could solve this mystery, after hubby, son me all had tried our versions at de-mystifying this tale of the Lumpy Basmati. Jayshree ( Dear Maid) who had since retired to watch her fave saas bahu type serial, was called. I asked her ..’What happened to the rice..why is it so sticky .. and what is this tukda tukda?”..
She looked at me puzzled and said..”You have forgotten.. you had asked me to put the mangoes in the rice..So I decided to put it in after peeling and chopping it”..All this with a cute smile on her face and looking at sonny to share their private joke on my ‘memory lapses’.
I have rarely got so mad ..almost hysterical and then when I saw hubby trying his best to hide his laughter behind his beard and pursing his lips to control the uncontrollable, well I had to give in too. We laughed while Jayshree deducing my bad memory was the butt of another family joke, joined in, clapping her hands and rolling her head back in laughter.
All I wanted was to have a few ripened mangoes from my tree.. and the Rice cannister was the suggested location for that end, where after snuggling up a few days in the cosy embryonic warmth , the Alphonsos would have emerged, shiny, yellow, ripe and juicy.
Did I tell you of the time she decided to put the curd to set in the refrigerator, since we had guests over and wanted it quickly???