In the darkness, I see the truth. Not the darkness that resembles a vignette but an utter darkness that engulfs you in its void. It resembles the night sky and the truth illuminates like the moon, but sometimes it is like a blink and miss when the lightning strikes. Then you wait for the lightning to put light on the truth, even if for a few seconds. That is why you try to capture it, in a bottle.
I saw the truth. The massive energy of the clouds shone it.

It is like just another day at the coffee house. The place is lit by Christmas and music mirrored the atmosphere of the festive mood. The place is jam-packed, liquor flows and half of the area is hidden by an intoxicating fog from the cigarettes. And then.

She walks into her little corner, Nana Rosy, as beautiful as her name. She greets everyone with a snicker and a complimentary taste of her handiwork, a muffin. She is a cook and is allotted a little corner in the cafe to make tongues wriggle to taste the last fragments of her food.

She is her jolly self-tonight, but if you look closely you can see the cracks old age has implanted on her… face. Wrinkles form like clouds on her forehead and her arms sag just a little.

She is surrounded by a legion transfixed on extracting a confession for the secret ingredient in her food that makes it what it is.

“Oh, darling. You all know of that secret ingredient. It took years and years for me to reach the stage to have that moment of truth where I finally knew what can make this dish what it is.”

“But tell us what it is?” the crowd spoke and waited.

The music and the intoxication leave the crowd in a heightened sense of euphoria. Nana Rosy is still in her senses. She has work to do. Clouds above start warning everyone with their loud grunts. Danger Looms.

Her menu consisted of Goan food items like –

O Classico Chicken/ Pork Vinddoo
O Delicioso Chicken Cafreal
O Soberbo Prawn Balchao
O Fantastico Choriso Pao

If you ordered any, you were sure to lick your fingers till the last of the delicacy flows in your bloodstream.

Suddenly, the music stops. The crowd unites to breathe out a mournful sigh. The lights are off. Darkness engulfs not like vignette but faster like a bullet that strikes terror and death into a body. The clouds roar again.

This is the moment I waited for. To see the darkest secret of people inside the room. All I need is a focal point. A flashlight. A torchlight. A lightning?
Whose secret do I want to know tonight?

I wait for

A flash…

The facades break. Mirrors shatter. I am inside the prisons people have built for

themselves. Whose key they have locked away because the truth is too hard for them to bear. Little do they know, they have locked themselves away. They are the prisoners.

I like to know their true self, though. I want to know the true self of Nana Rosy. Under her wrinkle-filled grin who resides? What’s the secret ingredient?

My eyes wander to see where she is. I go inside the last memory I have of her position. Obviously, her little corner. I wait for the next…

…flash

Her wrinkle- filled grin turns into a sinister half smile beneath the smoke that makes her look hazy. Her lower lip bleeds. She is bleeding? Is she suffering from a disease? Is the disease her prisoner?

I wait for the next…

…flash

It is not her blood. It is the blood of someone else. I look down. The food. It is… It is smeared with blood. Every drop is different than the next. The blood of others?

…flash

The menu has changed. It has changed to…

O Classico Chicken/Pork Voodoo
O Deathiciso Chicken ForReal

O Suburban Prawn Bachao
O Fantastico Choris POW

…flash
She speaks.

“Oh, darling. You all know what the secret ingredient is. It took years and years for me to reach the stage to have that moment of truth where I finally knew what can make this dish what it is. Your blood. We all are blood hungry. It’s in our genes. To kill each other and survive. I don’t relate myself to the beauty of the rose but rather the thorns we always forget. ”

The crowd scrambles and grunts at what a buzzkill the electricity cut has been. No one can see what I can see through. In the darkness, I see the truth. I see what Nana Rosy is.

All of a sudden, it is bright as a day. After a few seconds, everything is back to normal. The music, the lights, the smoke, the conversations. The normalcy.

Nana Rosy face turns back into her wrinkle- filled grin. She greets the incoming crowd. The legion grows larger, still transfixed on extracting a confession for the secret ingredient in her food that makes it what it is.

“Oh, darling. Come visit my house. You all can help me put the secret ingredient in, you know”

 

Laughter filled their veins. Little did they know, she was serious.


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