Mrs. Pammi Chopra is our buxom, next door neighbour, with an extremely foul mouth. She, along with her meek husband, Mr. Chopra who has a tiny frame that surprisingly dons a handle bar moustache, their two over boisterous kids; live in the apartment across ours.
Mrs. Chopra’s favourite hobby it seems, is to pick up arguments and fights. It’s been just six weeks they moved in and she has already fired four maids, broken out into expletives with the newspaper guy, almost slapped the plumber who apparently didn’t know his job. She invariably has to lash out at the courier guy, I wonder why!? My husband thinks it’s a character flaw. I give her the benefit of doubt and pass it off as the onset of menopause.
It’s a bitterly cold winter morning in New Castle Upon Tyne, UK. The roads are snowed out by 10 inches. Elvis needs to get to work. His job as a newspaper boy entails waking up at 4 AM, picking up the newspapers from the dealer and dropping them at each doorstep before 6 AM, in the Heaton neighbourhood.
I sit pretty, on delicate bone china cutlery, surrounded by my companions that include delectable savouries like shepherd’s pie, mushroom quiches, chicken pie, corned beef pie, pot pie, Cornish pasty. Then there are my brethren: sweet, mouth-watering wonders like pear pie, banoffee pie, lemon meringue pie, pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, blueberry pie and the likes. I am the quintessential apple pie. We all have made a grand comeback at the Claremont Pie Festival.
Sanjana sits demurely, a royal blue, Banarsi silk saree draped around her head, in a ghunghat (veil).
Last evening she took the saath phere (seven rounds around the sacred fire) with Suraj amidst the chants of Vedic mantras, to culminate their 5-year-old relationship into marriage. Both sides of the family, from the rural interiors of Uttar Pradesh had congregated to witness the ceremony. The Band Baja Barat, clad in their usual garish red, had sung and played, blaring the loudspeakers through the night with Mera Piya Ghar Aaya O Ramji (Happy Homecoming of my Husband), Subah Hone Na De, Saath Khone Na De, Ek Doosre Ko Hum Sone Na De, Tu Mera Hero Oo Oo (Won’t let the Mornings come, Won’t lose you for Nothing, Won’t let each Other Sleep, You are my Hero, Ooo) and the likes.