A STORY ABOUT A LIE
He just could not help himself. His mouth was off and shooting before he engaged his brain! If someone asked for help, he could never say no. “I just happen to know a fantastic cook. I’ll bring him tomorrow.”
Gulbai’s friend had a recent run of bad luck trying to hire and retain cooks in Katni, a small town in India, near a big city named Jabalpur. Being the typical rich Parsee woman, she could not even think of spending hour after greasy, hot hour in the primitive kitchens of those times. She happened to mention this in his presence.
A week later Gulbai visited her friend again, taking him along as he was her guest. It was a chilly reception. The friend was cold and made a point of ignoring him. Something told him it might be something to do with the cook situation, since that was the only point of their connection, so far.
The friend, obliged to be polite to her guests, left the sitting room for her kitchen to serve some snacks. She was in a huff and after some loud rattling of cups, saucers and spoons, emerged with a tray with the obligatory chai in two dainty porcelain cups and some small cakes arranged on a plate. She set one teacup and saucer down, gently, in front of Gulbai and the other with a deliberate clatter in front of him, without so much as a glance.
The conversation was forced and the sipping of the tea a mere ceremony they went through. He was wondering if he should ask about the cook, then thinking of the circumstances under which he had discovered him, decided to shut his mouth.
“So how did the cook work out?” asked Gulbai. The friend turned instead towards him and glared. “He did not know how to make tea, nor how to boil an egg. He threw himself down on his knees the first day and beseeched me – Forgive me memsahib, I’m not really a cook. The man met me at the local market and dragged me down here to say I was a cook, after paying me Rs.5. I am a poor man. Please let me go. May Allah forgive me. I’m sorry.”