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He sat at the table, conspicuous in orange, like an October pumpkin waiting to be carved into frightful expressions. Left unattended long enough he’d surely explode, scattering seeds of anger and birthing a fibrous placenta of discontent.

Sandhya scanned the spread for the culprit du jour. Perhaps the eggplants were undercooked. Too little salt in the lentils…or was it too much? The amchur. She’d forgotten to add that crucial pinch of raw mango powder, destined to elevate the most insipid lentils to lip-smackable. She tossed a Sri Lanka-shaped roti onto the flames and held her breath as it puffed.

Soon enough, a stainless steel spoon doused in turmeric went flying cross the room till it knocked down the asymmetric polka-dotted vase from pottery workshop. Amputated red carnations gasped for air beneath the ceramic tombstones. Of course, it was always the salt.

Sandhya flipped a Florida-shaped roti onto her plate and slapped a generous dollop of ghee on it. Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.