Sugar and ant; Oil and fly
"Dear Ms Shanbag
Trust you reached safely. How is your father?
Give my regards to him.
P.S. Ask him for his coconut curry leaf shrimp recipe please... kindly
"Dear Mr Narang
I did reach safely, it is raining even now, sometimes
I will go to the University tomorrow I think
Leela likes the house.
Is Prasad bringing the cats?"
She went to the restaurant in the evening while Ashvin and leela wandered the beach enjoying the loud band play offkey
Trisha helped her father Rao Anna and Manjunath in the kitchen
The crowd was going nuts...
They were drinking elsewhere and gobbling every morsel that was being laid out
Looked like it was going to be a good nite as far as the cash register's size
manju had already made three trips out to the local market by the beach to procure fish, shrimp and crabs
She worked quietly
Telling herself she needed to go home and take a bath
She didnt want to smell like fish when he came near her at night
If she closed her eyes she could channel every nanosecond of the heated kiss by teh water tank, the way his mouth suckled her lower lip teh way he held her face, the way he tasted, the gentle graze of his stubble
Coupledom wasnt for her anymore she had decided when she left him and returned to Ullal
He had shown up suddenly and changed it all
The way he spread his towel in the terrace, such aesthetic grace, made her envious.
Her face was constantly aflame if he was even in the vicinity...
She gently pulled her glove back and felt her cheek still gripping the giant knife... she was shelling crabs
Her face was on fire.
He was like a bowl of sugar and she was like an ant, she couldnt stop feasting... and there was so much of him
"did u hurt your face?" Rao Anna quizzed
She dropped the knife embarrassed
"Oh no... just I thought I felt a scar on my face" she lied
"the man is here, make sure you look pretty only" Rao Anna winked...
She nodded so he would go away
Prakash watched the exchange and worked energetically
His daughter looked pretty in whatever she was wearing... like a maxi
She should not wear glasses he thought
He assumed men didnt like women in glasses
Especially such studious girls
He calmed himself down, paused the suateeing
Who knew if the boy was even serious? A fly in a jar of oil, who was going to stop the rich boy from his philandering ways, his Trishu was stuck
The whole wedding was shrouded in mystery anyway
Nobody except the restaurant and the couple knew of it in Ullal...
There was a new part time cook now, Sudarshan, he tapped him on the shoulder
"anna, can we bring more fish? there is a lot of demand"
He shook off his trance and looked at his 50 year old watch
"Its almost 10" "I have guests at home... lets wrap up"
Sudarshan was sad...
When Trisha returned Ashvin and Leela sat in the front steps on their phones
She walked by the beach carrying the tiffin carrier
Her father had to lock up the money, since it was night time and he was goingt o walk home with Rao Anna
"U came soon?" she asked politely
"I am SOOO HUNGRY" Leela jumped off the step and grabbe dthe carrier and immediately set it on the ground
"SO HEAVY" she shrieked
Ashvin lifted it "wow" was all he said
Trisha opened the steel gates and then every door there on ward as far back as the one leading from kitchen to backyard
She turned on the kitchen light and pulled out steel plates to serve
"U smell SPICEEE" leela informed
Reminded Trisha about the bath
She decided to take one before Aanu came home ... quickly
He wud never allow a bath on a rainy night
She returned to find Aanu heating the rice... he didnt say anything
They ate holding the plate in their hand, no dining table in this house
Brother and sister fought each other the whole time, between narrating the evening events
Leela told her Ashvin pushed her arm away from her eyes while she was sleeping and placed two slices of bread on her eyes, freaking her out when she woke up
She had stories about how he replaced all her pictures in her room with photos of Lalu Prasad Yadav when she was having some college friends over
Prakash just wanted his glass of milk he said so he retired to the patio easy chair spot
"That room is muggy can I sleep in the central hall?" Leela asked
"U can take the cot" she told her brother smugly
"I bet you greased the sheets" he chuckled
"Not grease" she said firmly
They made Trisha smile all the time
she cleaned up, tidied up and pulled the rolled up Sanchet mattress from under her bed, and dusted it added new sheets
And made her bed near the pooja shelf
And then dragged to the side a bit in case Leela liked to sleep in
Ashvin was already on her cot, heat spread like plumes of red hot flames licking her insides when she saw him laying flipping through an old English India Today she had on the bed
"together?" he reconfirmed when she went in
"SHUT THE DOOR..." leela said noisily pulling both doors together towards herself taking away trisha's choice
Trisha's insides somersaulted as she imagined Aanu's realization of it
"I wont sleep outside" she told him
He exploded into laughter
"Its ur bed... u sleep her alone... dont u?"
"But if there is two people means, I wont" she said firmly
He got off, she crawled to her side and lay like a log
"Do I smell like fish?" she smelled her own arm
"I have to smell you to make sure" he said, his elbow resting on the pillow, his head cupped in his palm, he bend down as she shut she eyes...
wondering why she didnt take off her glasses