It’s raining so hard today that someone somewhere is building an Ark..and the naval architect may or may not be a man, may or may not be a Noah, and the Ark may or may not be for couples. But if it does get made, I do hope the vessel serves some tasty treat – like the muffin my colleague got today.
She sits opposite me and we exchange pleasantries every morning and insults thereafter. But to give her due credit, she is a generous soul – especially with food she doesn’t like.
Here’s what I mean:
Generous soul: Hey! Try some cutlet!
Translation in reality: It’s bad!
Generous soul: Want a piece of cake?
Translation in reality: The gateau can bend iron bars.
Generous soul: Take some of this chutney with that.
Translation in reality: You’ll have better luck with arsenic.
But this afternoon it was different. She came traipsing to her seat enveloped in a lovely aroma of vanilla and a grandma-home’s warmth. In her hands was a translucent tiffin box that had, what soon became, the collective object of desire. It was a warm, chocolate-chip muffin.
Now, ‘a muffin is a muffin is a muffin’ truism may apply on several occasions but there are instances where it stands refuted.
It’s a wet, dark, somber afternoon. Ennui is almost palpable as we peer into our garishly bright computer screens. The day looks long and endless and of course, wet. (Remember that.) People move around listlessly. The drone of the workplace circles like one of those eagles you see in Omar Mukhtar. Bit by bit we sink into that marsh of somnambulism until….
we see the muffin.
There it is – sitting pretty, wrapped in diaphanous butter paper, inviting with its subtle yet wholesome sweetness. Our eyes follow that little piece of baked heaven until my colleague reaches her seat and with careless gaiety asks, ‘Want some?’
Do we ever!
Yet, one must be gentle. The muffin is too perfect to just break into pieces and pass around. It must be given due respect – the respect we accord to an unlikely yet appealing savior. So another friend who is generally looked upon as the tidy one, decides to break the muffin into three pieces. I, being the barbarian that has already started salivating, am discreetly distanced till the treasure is apportioned. The tidy one peels the butter paper gingerly one corner at a time, as if she’s afraid of hurting it. In fact, she looks like one of those ten year old girls who read Enid Blyton and then slowly look inside buttercups hoping to find fairies.
I snap at her and am rudely shushed! Unknowingly, we have embarked on a ritual that is marked with piety.
The butterpaper is off now. The uncovered muffin now stands in all its glory with its chocolate chips glistening like bits of ..well, chocolate. And then, the tidy one breaks it into three pieces and leaves it for us to do our will.
Each piece is soft to the touch and promises such delights that one can only hold it for so long. And once I pop it into the mouth…I think my palate starts conducting a symphony. Each crumb is perfectly moist, and buttered, and delicately sweetened to correctly allow the chocolate to take over. And the chocolate, each chip at a time, oh so amply, does.
We got back to work after that but I’m sure we all heard a couple of larks singing inside our heads on a clear spring morning.
Note: We’ve been promised more next week by the generous soul.