Chumma Stories

The Bloody Letter

This story was first published in a wonderful, inter sectional online magazine – Mag 20/20 on 23 August 2020.

You can read it here:

Chumma Stories

Pinty and Minty

Minty glanced at her watch and quickly looked at her sister, “ey, come lets leave, it’s getting late.”

“Oh shit, its 1! I have work to do for tomorrow also, come come.”

“Okay, I’ll go to the washroom, you pay the bill, and then we’ll leave.”

Minty rushed to the washroom as Pinty shuffled through her bag for her purse. “Excuse me, bill?” she said, signalling the waiter. “Oh, and the card machine also.”

She brought out her SBI debit card, she wondered why her sister’s arrival into Bangalore was so expensive, almost 2000 Rupees, even with the Zomato Gold! “Ah anyway, family is family” she said and swiped her card.

“Customer copy ma’am?”


The little machine in the waiter’s hand spit out a receipt, he tore it and handed it to Pinty. “Thank you ma’am”

Pinty looked at the receipt, she instantly took out her pen and signed her name- Pinty Susan Thomas. The waiter was cute after all, maybe he would find her on Facebook, and then they would begin a beautiful romance! Yaa, Minty didn’t approve of all this, but Minty was not here, so her opinion did not matter.

“Come Pinty, let’s go” said Minty, wiping her wet hands on her jeans. She turned to the exit. Pinty quickly left her declaration of romance on the table, looked at the waiter one last time and rushed behind her sister.

The waiter stared at the solitary receipt. He wondered why that woman had wasted paper like this, she could have just said “no need for a customer copy”, no? he cleaned the table and left.


The cab dropped both the sisters off near Pintys PG. “Phew, almost 1:30, you go home and sleep okay? I’ll see you tomorrow” Minty said, hugging her sister. She slowly began to walk towards her PG, it was just 20 steps and a turn away from Pinty’s.

“No Minty, wait!” Pinty almost screamed. “I have been in Bangalore for so long! I know this area! You have just come today. It’s so late also. Let me drop you home!” And saying this, she took her sisters hand and began walking to Mintys PG.

Very soon, the two sisters found themselves outside Mintys PG. “Okay. Now you are safe, Go inside your PG, bye bye, goodnight.” Pinty said as she stretched her arms to give Minty a hug.

“Pinty!” Minty exclaimed. “How can I just let you go like that? You are my younger sister. I am responsible for your safety. What will I tell Mummy and Papa if something happens to you? Come here. Let me drop you first.”

Pinty could not disobey her older sister. She followed her silently all through the 20 steps and the turn.

Once again, the two sisters found themselves where they started.

“Here! Now I can rest in peace. Come on, you quickly go up to your room now.” Minty looked at Pinty, with a wide smile. “Bye bye! See you tomorrow!” She turned to go to her PG.

“Oh Minty! I am a terrible sister!” Pinty cried, with her hands on her face. “You love me so much! You have always taken care of me, ever since I was a little child. And me? I have only thought about myself.”

“Pintyy…That’s my job…”

“NO. This changes tonight. I will prove my love for you by dropping you home. Let me give back to you my dear sister!” and saying this, she pulled her sister by the arm and began to march towards her PG.

Soon enough, the two sisters were near Minty’s PG.

“Okay enough. Now I will go up to my PG, you go back to your PG. Goodnight.” An exhausted Minty said to Pinty.

Pinty stared at Minty.


“Nothing Minty. It’s just that, I took so much effort to drop you home and you…you’re just going off like that? Not even offering to drop me back? I mean, what’s that about?”

“Oh My God. You come. I’ll drop you.”

“UFF. Now I am a burden for you is it? Fine. Don’t come. I’ll go alone only.”

“Shut up, just come with me.”

They walked silently through all the 20 steps and the turn. Soon, they were outside Pinty’s PG.

“Okay, Love you, I’ll see you tomorrow!” said a happy Pinty, about to run up to her room.

“Wow Pinty. Just wow. You know what? I am the one who just came to Bangalore. I am the one who’s exhausted from travel. What if I faint?  I don’t even know anyone here. And you? You’ve been here for almost 1 and a half years and you want to run off? Desert your poor sister so late at night? Okay.”

Pinty was speechless. The two sisters began their long hike to Minty’s, they reached halfway, the tenth step when they decided they were too tired to go any further,

“Lets sit here for a while?”

“Ahh okay. I’m tired too.”

They sat on the footpath, staring at a dull wall.

“Minty, you’re a good sister, you know that right?”

“You’re a good sister too Pinty.”

They looked at each other, smiled, got up, and as they walked their own separate ways, they were found thinking to themselves- “She should have dropped me home.”

Chumma Stories

Cook Little Mina, Cook!

“Mina! come and help me in the kitchen, simply sitting and watching tv.”

“Yaa Mina, go do kiitcheen work, ahahha” Nino teased.

Mina glared at her brother. “He was older, he was also dumber, but why did he never have to work in the kitchen?” she thought to herself, “what a douchebag” she said out loud.

She stepped into the kitchen and stood watching her mother mix the cabbage thoran with the broken wooden spatula, a few yellow pieces fell out on the stove, Her mother would clean that up at 3, after everyone was fed.

“Mina, you make the mango chutney. I don’t have time.”

“Ugh. okay.”

Mina despised the kitchen. In five minutes of standing there, your forehead, your mustachey upper lip, your back, neck, would all break into sweat. And if you were forced to wear a bra, as Mina was today, since her father and brother were both at home and “young girls should dress a certain way when men are at home”, you had your personal undershirt waterfall. “Why was the kitchen so hot always?” Mina thought to herself, wiping away the first of many beads of sweat.

She opened the refrigerator and felt some temporary relief, even though there wasn’t any particular smell, she still liked to inhale cold air and feel her nose close for a second before she exhaled. Ice vapours rushed to meet her face and she bent down to pick out one mango, two green chillis, some shredded coconut, small onions, ginger and garlic.

“Mina, take out some ginger garlic for me also” her mother said with her hand stretched out, Mina put it in to her mothers hand almost immediately. It was ike she knew exactly how much her mother needed, “so weird…” Mina thought to herself.

She set the cutting board on the counter below the masala rack. She began chopping all her chutney ingredients.

“Pass the powder Mina”

“okay now the other powder”

“okay now the…” Mina handed over the mustard seeds “ah yes that only”

“What is this power?” Mina thought to herself, amused. Mina knew exactly what was needed and when, “this is awesome!” she smiled.

Mina began to put all the chopped ingredients into the mixer, she was aware of the sweat pouring down, she was irritated by it. She was about to shut the mixer when her mother put in a pinch of salt and a little more coconut. Mina closed the mixer and switched it on, “why isn’t this switching on?” she looked, confusingly. Her mother rotated the mixer once more to let it sit correctly on the stand and it started grinding.

When Mina took a bowl from the drawer to empty the chutney, her mother closed the drawer behind her. When her mother went to the fridge to take out something, Mina immediately filled her place and continued stirring the masala mix. Her mother came back to stir and Mina went to take out some coconut oil to pour in the pan. “What coordination Mummy and I have….” Mina wondered. They were in sync all throughout, they were both copiously sweating too, but Mina didn’t seem to care, she had never felt so sure before. Her mother and her seemed to have some exotic chemistry in the kitchen, they were dancing together in perfect beat, each one knew what the other one wanted, neither got in the others way- puppets controlled by an expert, there was a perfectly established system, a choreography that seemed to have been practiced many times before.

Many streams of sweat later, the food was ready. Mina helped her mom set down the bowls and the family sat to eat lunch. Mina was too delighted by that power she felt in the kitchen. She had never felt such power before, “What is this power that Mummy and I seem to share in the kitchen?” she wondered. “Why don’t I feel it anywhere else?”

“Ey Mina” her dad burped out, when he saw his daughter engrossed in some happy thought near the window, “come and massage my legs, nothing you do all day” and he lifted his legs and lay on the sofa, eyes darting between her and the Tv.

Mina’s illusion of power was suddenly broken. She was just Mina again. Mina who had to massage her fathers feet while her own feet hurt from standing in a hot kitchen.

“I’ll go back to the kitchen tomorrow, that power might come back again.” Mina said to herself, grabbing the bottle of oil to go massage her fathers feet.