Various Uses Of Chutney
“Did you watch Tisca Chopra’s short film, Chutney”?, asks Mrs.Kapoor.
“No, I did not. Is it good?” queries Mrs.Das uninterestedly, her eyes unable to move away from the new photograph on the mantel piece.
There was a new picture of Mrs.Kapoor – bright in dahlia print sari- with one arm around her husband and another around her teenage son. Both the men looked slightly bored.
“Just too good! The way the wife teaches that bad girl a lesson!! So many stories she weaves, you see! Of how anyone trying to interfere gets murdered and part of her kitchen garden…very yummy!” Mrs.Kapoor happily picks up her cup of tea. It has ginger and cardamom in it.
On the tea-poi there are plates of crisp potato fries and spicy chutney.
Mrs Das, her attention caught at last, is aghast. “What sort of a film was that! Murder? What bad girl?”
” Arrey! The one trying to make big big eyes at her husband! Unless she wants to become a chilly plant herself, she will keep her earrings off his hands now!” Mrs Kapoor cackles delightedly.
Mrs Das thoughtfully sips her tea. The cardamom makes the tea a bit too sweet for her taste. She grimaces. Her long white earrings catch the sunlight peeping in slyly through a window.
“So how are things otherwise”? Mrs Das asks, after a pause. “How is your back pain”?
“Oh, how did you get to hear of that? It is very bad on full moon nights. You know, poor Ravi has to spend the whole night massaging pain balm on my back. Do you think, there is some connection between moonlight and back pain”? Mrs Kapoor’s kohled eyes open wide, as she stares ingenuously at her visitor.
“May be you should check with a doctor,” says Mrs Das and then realising her stupidity, “oh, fool that I am, your husband being a doctor… of course, he must have done everything possible.”
“Actually, Ravi asked me to just relax. He says I am doing too much yoga, and over strain is causing my back pain. I am trying to lose weight. Men likes slim women, and I love my butter and parathas!” Mrs Kapoor shakes her head slowly, and sighs loudly. “You have nothing to worry, do you? You are so fit, dear!” She looks admiringly at Mrs.Das’s perfect figure, draped in a chiffon sari.
She sounds very sincere.
“How is Mr.Das doing nowadays? Such a charming man. Always reading all these thick, thick books! So much he reads and writes, I must say! Must be wonderful – all that peace and quiet in the house, eh”? Mrs Kapoor takes a potato crispie and dips it into chutney. “And since you have no children yet, you will have all the time you need for your hobbies, right”?
Mrs Das speaks very slowly: “Sort of…Guess I should get going now…My painting teacher will come soon.”
“Oh, how nice! Do show me one of your paintings, ok”?
At the door, Mrs.Das turns. “Who told you about this movie, Chutney”?
Mrs Kapoor scratches her head for a thoughtful second. “Mrs Nair, I believe. Met her at a birthday party the other day. She said a lot of stories in short films are actually based on real life episodes. And she particularly suggested that I watch it.”
Mrs Das smiles tightly, “Did Mrs.Nair give you any more suggestions”?
Mrs.Kapoor laughs happily: “Oh yes, she said that I should get new spectacles. Apparently she did not believe I was seeing properly! Ravi was so annoyed when I told him that! She was just trying to be helpful. Instead of showing me to an eye doctor, why get annoyed, eh”?
Mrs Das walks to her car, her head held high.
An unladylike like swear escapes her perfectly coloured mouth: like the pent up fieriness of a red chilly.
She cannot help casting a backward glance.
Mrs Kapoor is still waving cheerfully at her from the portico.