The young hostess pushed back a tendril, her smile fixed to hide the latent irritation. She hated having guests mill around in her kitchen during serving time, making polite offerings of help, it upset her rhythm of serving the food at the perfect temperature so. In this house, the bowls had to be piping hot and then there was her phobia of leaving a dish forgotten in the family sized refrigerator.
While she bustled garnishing, sprinkling and finishing up the dishes, her fairer part of the family began dropping their guard, a voice at a time. “What’s that you are sipping Guddi, don’t tell me it is tea in the steel glass!” Guddi drained her glass in a long gulp, rinsing it quickly under the tap, “Actually, Gary has permitted me to enjoy vodka on one condition, I must camouflage it so the family does not know.”
The kitchen lit up with knowing smiles, “I stop trimming my split hair months before this trip home. A false braid does the rest, particularly in the gurudwara,” heads shook a little at the sight of Pinky’s discreetly draped dupatta over the nape of her neck.
Goldie beckoned them close, her voice falling to a hush, “Listen, for your ears only, please do not pass this on. Lovely and her husband are undergoing infertility treatment. It seems Lucky’s sperms are sluggish but no one will talk about it, bad for the male ego you know!”
They turned sharply at the choked sound from Kittie, what was wrong with Montu’s new bride? “I am so sorry, I can’t help remember what happened yesterday. Mummy Ji had given me some minor repairs to sew and I was rooted with confusion at the presser foot sewing machine, we had a hand wheel model at my parent's. And guess what? Montu pulled the pile from under my arm, banging the door shut with one heel and settled down, to guide the seams under the needle like a perfect pro.”
The women threw back their adorned heads and tittered with glee. “Come on, come on, quit gossiping, we are blessed to have such nice families, let’s get the hungry horde to the table.”
The colorful group filed out carrying the cutlery and serving bowls. They entered the dining area in a respectful and solemn procession, having sagged and shrunk in their bearing, a look of appeasement on their faces, treading thin ice with their indeterminate half smiles.
All was well with their world.