Biryani.

The oil blistered the curry leaves.
The smoke rose like sodium in water.
A little culinary explosion — this affair.

Water. 
Set afloat the spices. 
Water. 
Got the turmeric waves crash at the coal black Teflon walls. 
Water. 
Soaked deep sighs out of the slit green chilies. 
Water. 
Softened all the rice, every grain of it, generously.

The grace of the butcher had already halved and halved 
And halved the chicken. 
Smothered in sloppy kisses 
Of the freshly ground paste — 
Their blunt edges scream
As they slither through the gravy.

One. 
The first of the sacrifice. 
Two. 
The one Appa might like — all bony and rich in the marrow. 
Three. 
The liver, never mind. 
Four. 
Five. 
Ten. 
Sixteen. 
Twenty-seven.

One by one, the imperfect cubes drop in — 
Absorbing like a sponge, 
Like a nerd, like a doormat, 
All that awaited them in the deep bottomed pan.

Left to right: The wooden stick ladle gyrated the contents. 
That was probably how vertigo felt in the head. 
Right to left: The rice drenched in naple, sunny and dark yellow, then mustard and then gold.

It is not over yet.

The lid envelopes the secrets of 
An easily forgivable little murder, 
The stealthy sprinkles of kitchen condiments and, 
A recipe handed over by generations of women in the family. 
In return, it breathes out tears, 
against its own body.

Whistles. 
They flirtatiously invite my family to the dinner table.

Biryani is served.
A little culinary explosion — this affair.

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