AND THEN SHE DIED

This is a human drama - the story of Maya, born in a village in South India into a poor family. Circumstances force her to come to Bombay as a child of ten years.

Maya sets out to live her life in very trying conditions at a tender age. Her chance meeting with Gokuldas, her future husband, brings some respite to her otherwise dreary life. They are a very loving couple. Gokuldas tends to stray which leads to corrosion in the relationship. His cruel streak surfaces and manifests itself till it could no longer be borne by Maya.

This is a story of courage, determination, loss and triumph of an illiterate woman born in poverty and thrown to the wolves by circumstances of her birth and birth-place. This story will give hope to countless women who compromise with their circumstances and remain where they are. It encourages a destitute woman to no longer be chained to her fate but create her own fate and her own life. Some succeed …. some keep on trying……some die!

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14. THE OPPORTUNITY

Waiting at the tables, taking orders from the hotel’s patrons, serving them their desired food items from a menu learnt by heart and then clearing off the tables of the used plates and glasses, running between the kitchen and the tables, the tables and the cashier and thus moving around in circles the whole day held no charm for the young boy of seventeen!

 

He pestered the head-cook to teach him how to cook. Thus began his life as a cook in the kitchen.... learning how to prepare batters for idlis and dosas, the ingredients for the spicy chutney, and grinding of masala for the Sāmbhar, all staples of a typical Mangalorean restaurant. He also learnt to cut and cook various vegetables and prepare different types of rice dishes.

 

Soon, he was able to use his own judgment in using the correct proportion of various ingredients used in the recipes and independently prepared some dishes which were a part of the hotel’s menu. He was now a member of the kitchen team.

Opportunities come and need to be grabbed! Gokuldas’s opportunity came when the head-cook had to rush to his home town as a message had reached him that his wife was seriously ill and that she had a very little chance of surviving. Mr Shetty, the hotel-owner, asked the head-cook, as he prepared to leave for his native place, “Who will be in charge of the kitchen in your absence?”

 

“Gokuldas.”

 

“Are you sure? He has just started learning.”

 

“The others will not be able to take the responsibility. Gokuldas is a natural leader and a quick learner, others will readily follow him.”

 

Thus Gokuldas became the head-cook in the hotel as the original head-cook never came back!

 

This proved to be a sort of blessing for Mr Shetty as business boomed. By word of mouth, the stories of the mouth-watering dishes prepared and served at the hotel were spread. People travelled from various parts of Bombay to eat at the hotel. Space was not sufficient at times and crowds were seen outside the hotel, waiting to grab a seat at any table, just so that they could relish the wares.

 

Mr Shetty grew rich and Gokuldas was given a salary hike. He began to remit monies to home, to his mother. He was at last able to save some money too. He was reaching his twentieth birthday and was already successful as a cook. Unfortunately for Gokuldas, it was Mr Shetty who reaped the monetary benefits of his expertise.

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