From time to time, I get together with the My Alchemy Graduates and we do a writing sprint. Although I am the one who furnishes the prompts, I usually don’t have time to think about them. It’s only in that ‘space’ across the zoom windows that the writerly atmosphere gets created. And together we write. Later we share. We exchange feedback. Most importantly, we have fun. The pencils get sharpened and we look forward to seeing each other again. Here’s what I wrote when we last met!
“Mala green tea pahije” I said to the new maid in the local language Marathi. (I want green tea)
She was my latest recruit after a string of flibbertigibbet young girls. The last one had patronizingly told me in a non-existent exit interview that she “didn’t like it here”. Not sure if it was the errant toaster(repaired now) or the washing machine (top loading) that had irked her. Or maybe it was the colour of the drapes: a boring cream (unchanged as of yet). Or maybe the afternoon naps were too short for her. Who knew!
But back to my latest recruit. She seemed promising. Eager and enthusiastic. And seemed to know everything. I asked her, once again in Marathi, “You do know green tea, right?”
She nodded vigorously. I felt she displayed a trace of hurt, offended that I had even asked her this question. Before leaving the kitchen I thoughtfully showed her the serving tray. I did want my green tea in style. Pleased with my latest hire, I retreated to my desk, punching away the keys on my ‘next big thing.’ I was smiling.
It was a good 20 minutes later before she gingerly walked into the room balancing the tray in one hand with great attention. She carefully placed it in front of me and stepped back respectfully surveying her work with pride.
I, for once, had no words.
It was one of my decorative platters. Arranged carefully, in the shape of a flower, in precisely-cut, 2-inch pieces, were blades of fresh lemon grass! Green tea in Marathi!
“Green tea, Madam”, she said and smiled.