May you burn and rot in Hell-fire! May the Almighty hang you upside down and skin you alive in public!!
_ Here comes my muttered flurry of curse, with pain and disgust exploding in my heart, towards the young Arab guy every time he greeted me with his booming voice and crazy eyes. He was a total stranger I worked with at a security company as ‘student control room operator’. Night shifts. Just two of us. And he successfully made my life a living hell keeping my agony alive and well.
I have twenty million reasons to dislike this awkward slash highly unlikable guy. He sounds rude, looks rowdy, talks outrageously inappropriate in his random chit-chats. To fill in the impenetrable silence and emptiness between us, he would brag in detail about how thunderously ‘chicks/female species’ would succumb to his eccentric bohemian charm! (How utterly charming! How I wish to borrow Devil’s fork to poke this pathological flirt all over and watch his body twitch uncontrollably!)
He would sit with his chest puffed out, hair spiked bolt-upright in a despicable manner that screamed for attention! (But the narcissist buffoon was never able to make me swoon. Fiercely ‘modern’ guys like this specimen are so undatable, so-not-marriage-material, I tell you!)
Every morning before wrapping up, without offering him a single morsel, without acknowledging his presence, I would spread some devilishly tasty, lustrous Mango Chutney immaculately on a slice of bread. Sweet, a little tart, mildly spicy chutney would hit the right spots and I’d get lost into my wildest dreams, ultimate fantasy: in hell that fella is getting whipped hard by Arnold Schwarzenegger. And his evil tongue got twisted backward. And he got bitten by an Anaconda and declared spot dead by the reporting angels. ( How insanely nice would it be to watch his corpse half-buried upside down with his legs in the air!)
I’m snapped back to present by the scoundrel’s nasty gurgly slurp of coffee followed by humongous burps! How I hate the fact that he exists but how I murderously adore my captivating craving for ‘Mango Chutney breakfast revenge’!
His raven-black, voodoo presence chokes me, makes me feel like a dead wood drifting downstream. He is like a treacherous chunk of cloud curtaining my windows from letting in rays of the sun. I prayed hard for an exit as I’m caught in a spider web; stuck, froze-up in a dark, dingy dungeon; trapped in an unknown bottomless pit where there was no swimming forward or backward. I’m too much in love with this job to let it go just because of him. Was it worth shedding tears for countless hours over a guy who I hate to look in the eye? – Absolutely! A full year of soaking in his evil energies later, my prayers were heard and answered. We were informed that due to recent recession one of the student-operators will be laid-off and they will decide today who that would be. The infidel bum-hole Arab dude right away stepped aside and said, “I’m ready to resign”, sticking his pinky finger in a circular motion into his ear hole.
He left quietly. I was busy watching the snowflakes bouncing off the Eucalyptus leaves like popcorn. Let it snow.
That year the winter arrived with the harshest blizzards knocking off strong trunks of Maple and Mahoganies, burring Lilies and Lilac bushes deep into snowdrifts. The hit was hard to take. My devastated body collapsed due to extra workload all night long, rising pressure from classes and field works all day long, home works and researches all evening long. My heart and soul shuttled back and forth between life and death. Thankfully my Indonesian roommate was there to revive me.
Spring came alive. Pastel gardens went crazy with flowers and butterflies in bursting color and hue. With smoke-like sweet scented mist hovering from the towering trees, my dreams kept growing. I got promoted at work. Found a better place to live in. In reply to my sincerest goodbye thanks, my roommate smiled, “Give thanks your jobless ex-colleague who brought you home cooked fresh food every single day including that massive Mango Chutney jar.”
Suddenly the sun turned lightless and grey again, blowing foggy wind chills frosting my soul, deadening and hushing my heartbeats. Brightly blazed Daffodils beneath the hills died out in a wink. I kept on dialing his number to thank him but that number, by then, was inactive, unreachable and as silent as a dead shore where water never meets the land.
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of cumin seeds
2 green chilies or 1 tbsp crush red chili flakes
4 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped (4 cups)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp Mustard oil/vegetable oil
Heat just a little trace of oil. Sauté first five ingredients until they release fragrance. Add mango chunks. Add vinegar and water. Over medium heat, cook them down to a smooth density. Cook about an hour.
To mediate the spice and hit, add sugar and salt towards the end.
What emerges is an eye-soothing glaring amber colored satiny, soulful substance with delightful tastes synchronizing in it.
Allow the chutney to cool. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator up to six months.
Serve this luxuriant chutney with bread, rice, baked/fried fish, meat, fritters; should you care to invoke pure splendor and bliss in your lungs and taste buds.
Mango chutney builds tastes that you would want to keep going back to as long as you can. It’s a ravenous relief from store-bought jam/jelly boredom.
A total stranger who I had no strings attached with whatsoever, stepped into the quicksand so that I stay safe in the oasis. The beautiful stranger with beams of blue flickering through his eyes, chose to climb a nameless, starless, slippery staircase barefoot (as lovers often do) which leads nowhere leaving behind a lantern casting soft halos of light for me to ignite my hopes, to fix my life.
Ever since my ungrateful, ignorant, infidel, thankless, judgmental heart stopped breathing. How can I breathe knowing there’s a debt on my chest that is heavier than the Himalayas?