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They lapped the bowls clean of yellow rivers weaving estuaries in rice. Sandhya stretched across the counter like a dog at a steakhouse, saliva multiplying in anticipation. Throw me bone, damn it.

“Humph! Daal is too salty today”. Salt. It is always the salt. Always. Attempting to balance it is more dangerous than walking a tightrope across a valley of crocodiles blindfolded. Too little and the food is less palatable than a granola of toothpicks. Too much and you are conspiring to murder.

Salting is not for the weak. It can disintegrate blood-sucking leeches and toss colonizing tea-sippers out of a nation. Bollywood’s hairy-chested swear by the anguish it can unleash upon raw wounds. It can render will-power useless when sprinkled on bars of caramel and chocolate.

Salt of the earth, of our blood, of our tears…fling it backwards for good luck, but hand it over and you’re fucked.

Sandhya drags her feet back to the kitchen, sore from chains tugging at her neck. No matter how hard she reaches, the T-bone will always been a sniff too far away while the juices from her face sizzle on the coal below. A trumpet of belches reverberates from the dining hall. The exhaust roars to life as Sandhya chases her own tail.