I lost my white chopping board. And mislaid a spoon. Normally, in the clutter of my house, I wouldn’t notice if an entire basket of fruit disappeared-polished off by my children, of course. And dust lies so thick on everything else that the original colour of things cannot be ascertained, nor their shapes. Everything is obscured by this.
Now, how did I know I lost my chopping board? It was one of my dear possessions. And that was back in the time, I was starting a new life, a married state of existence. Our belongings were numbered, as were my spoons. A set of dozen, bought by my mother for the new house. Losing one meant I suspected the maid of stealing it. My husband told me not to be silly. But I told him of the wisdom imparted to me by the elders ( mostly women) of the family. That, the part time house maids we employ are able to flick things especially little objects concealed in their clothes. I was not upto frisking them, but cast aspertions on them, I could. This innate suspicion had been handed down for generations. In “A Passage to England”, Nirad C. Choudhary talks of the propensity of the Indian housewives to keep an eagle eye on the household provisions. They would count the number of onions and potatoes, after their household helps left. He does not talk of confrontation. Nor is that possible in today’s world of unionised house maids.
Back to the chopping board. It was plastic with a lot of notches made by my knives. It was always in my mind, for I had read some place that chopping boards need to be wooden. Then they do not make the knives blunt. Now, I was forever calculating, which would be cheaper, replacing the board or my knives.
I probably left it propped against a shelf in the kitchen, when we moved house. The Movers and Packers were very efficient and they put things in boxes in a few hours flat. They did not leave anything behind, not even the toilet cleaning brushes I meant to discard. Then, how did the chopping board escape them? The maid could not have wanted it, for she liked to have her vegetables chopped the old fashioned way, by hand and this was the only way she knew and respected.
Thus, it became a mystery of sorts. The disappearance of the spoon I rather expected, so it was okay. And then a few years down the line, I lost a couple of my dinner bowls. Stainless Steel. Tsk…tsk… But that is another story.