Short Story / The Caravan - September 1, 2011

Authentic and Hospitable

Jaya had indeed found Kamala after many battles. There was the village girl she hired who had no idea how to clean fish. Another maid, hired through an agency in town, would only cook the things she liked to eat. The last one before Kamala had been caught red-handed washing whites with reds. But finally, like a miracle, Kamala had landed in their lives. Jaya was visiting her sister who lived in another village. Lunch was so delicious that she had asked if she could give the maid a tip. Nineteen-year-old Kamala was washing up dishes in the old, crumbling kitchen. She had a perfectly round face and her small gold earrings gleamed against the smooth dark skin. Out of earshot of her sister, Jaya had offered Kamala twice the salary if she could start the month after. “And there won’t be half the work you have here,” Jaya looked around her. “It’s a nice, modern kitchen with a big grinder for dosa and idli batter.”

“Chechi, do you have cable TV?” Kamala had asked. Jaya’s sister still got only Doordarshan; the cable TV sealed the deal, and Kamala had arrived in Marble Mahal two years ago.

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