For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Nawab Sahib”



A mixture of spices and ghee had been added to the rice, with a suitable amount of stock, in a pot and its mouth sealed with a paste of flour. Noor Mohammad rose from his chair occasionally to hold a stethoscope against the side of the pot and listen to the sounds inside, so that he could decide whether the flame needed to be turned up or down. Just as doctors use a stethoscope to gauge the condition of the heart, Noor Mohammad too could make out from the bubbling sounds within the pot how much longer the pulao needed to be cooked. I was flabbergasted.

Nawab Sahib arrived in his car at precisely five in the evening. His kurta and tight pajamas were a spotless white, while a white lace cap perched on his head. He didn't seem so much a man as a dazzling sword. He had blue eyes and a gentle smile. Greeting each of us with an adaab, he took his seat. Each of his hosts said a few words in their exuberance. He listened to all of them with a tilted head, smiling, nodding now and then. 

We read it in Asymptote: July 2013.