The little girl sneaks into the kitchen, rolls up her sleeves, washes her hands. She silently draws out a bowl and sieves in the flour; making a tiny well she lets the water fill it to the brim and then continues to sort through the flour with it, kneading it into a firm dough.
She drags the flat pan onto the hot stove and her tiny hands begin to roll out balls of dough, flattened and placed on the hot plate. Her hands burn. Her dupatta chafes her neck, overhead the fan spins in lazy circles, sifting through the already hot air. Her eyes seek the time and nervousness beads on her forehead. The mistress doesn’t appreciates late service or burned chapattis.
Her back aches, her head hurts. She places all the items on the grand table, bowls of different dishes set across it, gilt edged crockery and shining cutlery. Everything is up to perfection. Except perhaps that single burnt chapatti with a side of lentils, served on the broken plastic plate, awaiting her in the kitchen.