Off-limits

Jars, Boxes, Tins, Shelves, Drawers.
The meticulous placement served a purpose.
No nook or corner was left unused.
Nothing could be disturbed.

Laced with mixed smells.
Cinnamon, cardamom, clove
Frying onions. Batter rising. Ghee.
Familiar smells of childhood.

Once inside, the moves were choreographed.
A dance of knives, spatulas, spoons.
Cut, peel, chop, wash, drain.
Always ending with a pinch of salt.

Blend. Sizzle. Temper.
Crackling curry leaves.
Utensils clinking, rattling.
Never silent.

At the odd hours of the night.
Unguarded, you crept in like a cat
And cringed when the faithful shelves
Made noise.

Nothing was wasted.
Plastic, glass, bottles, tin foil.
Saved, used, reused and used again.
Keepsakes of the things once bought.

You didn’t just wander in
Without a permit.
You were a guest here. A visitor.
It only answered to ‘One’

-Avni Vij