Benevolent Hearts

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Mise-en-place

 

To gather and arrange all ingredients and tools needed for cooking.

*

The faint scent of chocolate chips was filling the summery air around her and getting mixed up with the delicious aroma of the spices as she happily stirred the pot of spaghetti, as always her new found recipe. Though she was just a beginner when it came to savory dishes, she knew the kids around her would always love the food because it was Safiya Jameel, who was making it.

“Not bad Safi girl.”

“Child, you are forcing me to have a second breakfast in one day.”

Uncle chirped loudly entering the kitchen while taking in the delicious fragrance of the meal. Safiya giggled and turned her head to face him. “It’s the story of every week, uncle. But I know how you enjoy my food.”

Uncle nodded giddily forcing her to laugh at his childishness as she again got busy with the pot on the stove. Soon the kids began to wake up and the heavy silence got replaced by the chatter and patters of all the kids who were taking their seats on the dining table.

“Here is our breakfast everybody!”

Safiya entered the dining hall with the tray of delicacies including muffins, cookies, spaghetti and cereals. How she loved cooking and then to see the happiness on people’s faces who enjoyed every morsel she cooked. Who could be better than these kids who didn’t get to eat in branded restaurants or the things they saw on television? So every weekend it was her habit to come in this orphanage and prepare some of her best recipes just to make the children happy and to see them smile.

The whole hall got filled with childish claps and yelling as she made her way towards the table. After serving everybody, she made a separate plate for herself and uncle and came towards the kitchen where now he was washing utensils.

“Come on uncle, we have to have this second breakfast. ”

Uncle huffed looking at her in mock anger and with a small smile on his lips. “You’re making me fat, Safi. One day I will go home and Bano will not even recognize me due to this.”

Uncle chided her showing his protruding tummy which he felt was the result of Safiya’s food. “I don’t think so besides you look great and aunt will also like you like this.”

Uncle was as always the most dramatic person in her life but Safiya loved him and his wife’s company. They were like the long lost family she had found all of a sudden and she just want to preserve it for as long as she could. But as always, destiny had its own plans.

“So, are you ready for the big day?”

Safiya’s breath hitched at the mention of her big day. Yes, it was a whole lot more than a big day for her. But, her heart was shaking with the mixture of excitement and nervousness.

“Yes. You’re coming na? ”

She would get graduate from her college and she had determined to invite uncle for this ceremony, though he was shy and somewhat hesitant to come there but Safiya knew how to handle him.

“Take your father with you, child? What I will do there?”

“Uncle, we already have discussed it. Don’t bring that topic again and again. ”

Safiya got up quickly from her place, the mention of her father filling up her eyes with the salty tears. She didn’t even want to go on that topic and uncle was constantly bugging her for the same despite knowing how it hurt her every time. She clearly knew every time where their conversation would head and she had every single idea how it would hurt both of them but it felt like she didn’t want to understand his point of view. Safiya was too stubborn to make herself understand that what uncle was saying was totally right. She hadn’t properly prepared herself to face her parents just yet, because the scars of past hadn’t healed till now. They were still open and Allah knew till when they would be like this.

Safiya gathered up her belongings, entirely ignoring uncle’s gaze on her. Shoving her watch and mobile hurriedly inside her bag she pulled up the strap on her shoulder. The kitchen had got into a much heavy and awkward silence in which she didn’t want to stay for more than a moment.

“I’m going to meet Dado. I’m not forcing you but I’ll be going to miss you at the ceremony.”

With that said, she quickly left the kitchen and then the orphanage without even looking back, without glancing at the enjoying kids who were devouring their breakfast too happily and those plates she had prepared for herself and uncle which were now lying on the table, ignored and all alone.

*

He picked up the plate of the delicacy and threw it on the floor. The clattering sound was enough to make everybody in the kitchen room go silent though there were only the sound of Daiyan’s words which were slicing through the thick curtain of the silence.

“That’s what you will feed my guests?”

That taste awful scratch that he was sure if he told any passersby to make him a good dessert it would worth eating than this waste in front of him. He couldn’t stand those cooks in his restaurant who could put the reputation of him and his work at stake. He couldn’t tolerate them at all. He wanted everybody to have proper attention and proper knowledge because that’s why they had been hired for, not for gossiping about everything.

The dessert chef quickly looked down unable to handle the embarrassment in front of his fellow chefs and also he didn’t have any guts to speak in his defense to the most prominent man of their lives, Daiyan Mustufa. They were all used to his tantrums, his rude remarks and also the sudden resignation of the cooks just because of this man. They felt the resignation was the easiest part to move away from him because their self respect was much greater than the craving of few more money.



Zeba

Edited: 17.07.2019

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