Benevolent Hearts

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Bouquet Garni


A collection of herbs gathered and tied into a bundle or sachet, used to enhance flavor of stews, broths and stocks.


Safiya rolled her eyes, huffing in annoyance. She wouldn’t be able to reach on time. Never, ever. What was with her and time today? Firstly she reached late at the bus stop and then she was going to reach late at Gwalior because of the driver who was a slave of patience and also of the sudden flat tire.

Very Good!

“Dado, please. I want to go.”

“But Safiya, what’s the hurry? You have just graduated. Rest for some time and then take any opportunity. ”

Nanna had given them all a treat at the nearby ice cream parlor where Safiya had decided to unwrap the surprise of her visit to Gwalior.

“It’s a one time opportunity, Dado. I just want to try.”

From past fifteen minutes, Safiya was trying her utter best to make her understand that she would be alright, she could do this and everything else would be fine.

“Let her go, Batool. Let our child try else how will she know what’s best for her?”

“Where will you stay there?”

Dado was now somewhat silent but Safiya could sense a mild glare in her eyes but her question was right. If she got selected, there should be a place where she had to stay.

“Don’t worry; I have one friend of mine.”

The cab stopped with a jerk at the lavish tall building and she quickly left her seat, giving the fare.

“Hundred and twenty, madam.”

Safiya felt her mind had been switched off for the time being by this nonsense driver. Why everybody was testing her patience?

“What for? Are you for real? You had fixed it on ninety na?”

“Madam but we came from that long route and got two traffic jam-”

“As if I told you to take me to a Gwalior trip. Look I’m already late, take this or I’m going.”

Safiya stuffed the money back in her bag and was about to move when the driver stopped her with a pleading voice. Giving the fare she entered the restaurant and came directly towards the reception.

“I have come for the interview at Salt and Sugar.”

“Safiya Jameel, right?”

Safiya nodded eagerly, didn’t know whether they would allow her to enter and participate?

“Grand hall on the fifth floor.”

Hurriedly getting into the elevator, she reached at the fifth floor. The grand hall was just in front of her; Safiya never ran so much in her entire life just like she was now. The happiness of reaching at her place was much greater than her ragged breath and tiredness.

“You made it, Safi girl.” A heavy squeal left her lips in excitement and she got stumbled upon the opened strings of her sneaker, felling down face first on the floor with a very loud thump.

Way to go!

Safiya began to get up hearing the shuffling sounds around her as someone helped her to stand properly. It was too much embarrassment to hold, falling down so clumsily with the contestants and the owners in the hall. Crappy crap! Her head was hurting too badly and that mild pain in her lower lip, she knew it was bleeding from inside as she could taste that metallic taste on her tongue. A lady was standing beside her and now picking up her backpack, “Are you alright?”


By that time Safiya looked up, she found two men standing in front of her. One was looking at her with concern while the other was watching her movements with a coldness and disgust in his eyes. He with measured steps came near her and stopped at a good distance from her.

“I didn’t know government has removed the ban from child labour. ”


Was that a way of welcoming someone, with the sarcasm that too on her appearance? Yes she looked a lot younger than her age and on top of that she was little short in height especially with the tall man standing near her, she felt a lot more shorter. But she wouldn’t accept her defeat so easily.

“Yeah. I’m also shocked you haven’t got your retirement yet.”


“Daiyan. Just let it go.” The other man held the man’s arm whose name was maybe Daiyan to stop him and looked at her with a sheepish smile, “I’m sorry madam. Please take your place quickly, we’re about to start.”

Safiya nodded, ignoring the cold glare from Daiyan. What was his problem? He started everything and now was behaving like she was the guilty one. Looking at both of them, she knew they were the owners but she was not ashamed of what she had done. Some people needed to show their places if they got too muddled up in their success.


Really? Did she really say that to him? Didn’t she have any idea who was he?

“Learn to calm your tongue and anger, Daiyan.”

“Don’t start again, Muaz. You know that what she said to me.”

“That’s because you forced her to do so.”

Daiyan pursed his lips and leaned on the paper in front of him. Yes, he was right but why would he accept that. That girl who was already late and also showed some great clumsy skills that was why he could not push back the sarcasm which rolled out of his tongue. The competition had been started and now they had to wait for total two hours so that they both could taste the prepared dishes.


Edited: 31.07.2019

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