Four Takeaways and a Funeral is a novel inspired by many things. Sibling rivalry, the loss of my parents and spending most of my nights in my hubby’s family restaurant writing.
It is a story about communication, or rather the lack of. And how sometimes, when your spoiling for a fight even a pakora is a good enough reason.
My hubby speaks not bad English, definitely better than my attempt at Bangladesh which is usually any sentence I can slap the Bangladesh word for shoe in (the first word I mastered along with genitals). It’s a joke I love to use when I am not getting enough attention and hubby and his family are so engrossed in their Bangladesh talk, they have forgotten not only that I don’t understand but that I am there at all.
And it worked for maybe the first hundred times.
Then when I threaten to buy a new pair of “shoes’ for hubby, he with his 'you've taken that too far' look ask me to stop mentioning shoes and gentiles in the same sentence and asked me “to tell him what I would like for Christmas before it was over.”
“Another 100 reviews,” I said with what I thought, was a wry smile.
Hubby with a mild choke of spice tea said. “A hundred… the restaurant (meaning their latest) doesn’t even have that and it’s been going for six months.”
“I was joking,” I muttered.
“Joking? About reviews? Why would you do this? Especially when the last review called our dhal cement mixture,” which both Hubby and I knew was written by the kebab man.
“What do you expect him to say," I said.
Hubby shrugged his shoulders.
“Forget kebabs, forget my Samoas tries next door-way better...”
Hubby sniffed at his tea.
“And I wasn’t talking about your place I'm talking about me and my books-this video…”
Hubby watched the video three times. When I say three, he was called away three times, so I made him sit through from the start each time. Finally, giving the phone to the tandoori chief, he pulled up a seat and sat through the whole video...
Then said to me. “But you know where the lids are-you put them there.
“It a story,” I said.
“I know but why would the roadworks man want to find lids?”
“I think you missing the point. It's about helping and getting in the way.”
“Arh yes,” he said, “like when I cut your hair.”
“No that is called being drunk. You should not listen to me when I am drunk.”
At which point the phone rang and the tandoori chief with a glum look thrust the phone into hubby’s hand.
It was the kebab man someone had left a review on facebook calling his kebabs fit for oven cleaning.
After a long Bangladesh conversation where the word shoe was never mentioned my Hubby finally hung up and turned to me with his best wry smile.
"He said, “your hair is beautiful, and that lopsided fringes are very fashionable in Pakistan."