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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Christmas Lunch

by Gumi Malhotra

Dear readers,
Please welcome Gumi Malhotra who brings us the first of  many stories that she's promised to share.
'Last night I dreamt I went to Damdim', reminisces Gumi, ' Mrs Danvers, but our Jerome was a force to reckon with! So here’s a very tiny sliver of our times there.'

25th December. On a cold foggy morning I dragged myself out of bed showing all the ill effects of a Christmas Eve at the Western Dooars Club. I walked towards the kitchen ready to pluck at any available sleeve for the morning brew. From the corner of my eye I noticed a white plastic bag on a table in the pantry that did an occasional jig.

I ignored it as an apparition and cursed the second rum and coke.

Holding fort in the deserted kitchen was the smiling Jerome, reeking of country liquor, who whilst polishing floors to perfection apparently also introduced our older son to beedis.

Once the Christmas greeting and plea for tea was over I asked Jerome to disclose the contents of the white bag.

“Aapka Christmas hai” came the reply.

“Kya hai”

“Murgi hai”

“Oh my God Jerome usko kholo jaldi...mar jayegi”!!!

“Koi baat nahin, aapka lunch ke liye hai”

“No, usko nahin marenge”, I said horrified.

“Kyon” asked Jerome perplexed.

“Anda dega“, said I desperate to justify its existence.

“Nahin dega”


“Murga hai”, said Jerome with cheerful satisfaction.

Nevertheless we rescued a barely feathered, squawking chicken from the plastic bag and set it free near the mali bari. Our Christmas gift lived a long dignified life lording it over the kitchen garden and many a pretty hen. A more handsome rooster I have yet to see.

I wish I had a photograph of him!

Meet the writer: Gumi Malhotra
Gumi Malhotra
Hello chai people, here’s my first attempt to pen down one of the million memories I carry with me. We came away twelve years ago with our hearts full ( not so much the pocket) of such nuggets. We live in Bangalore now and what started as a hobby in the gardens has become my calling. I paint pet portraits. The happiest days spent in tea were in the Jali kamra with my paints, the boys occupied with make believe cars and a steady stream of tea flowing from the kitchen. Cheers!

Is this your first visit here? Welcome to Indian Chai Stories! 
You will meet many storytellers here at Indian Chai Stories, and they are almost all from the world of tea gardens: planters, memsaabs, baby and baba log. Each of our contributors has a really good story to tell - don't lose any time before you start reading them! 

Do you have a chai story of your own to share? Send it to me here, please : My name is Gowri Mohanakrishnan and I'm a tea planter's wife. I started this blog because one of the things that I wouldn't want us to lose in a fast changing world is the tea story - a story always told with great seriousness, no matter how funny - always true (always), maybe a tall tale, long, or short, impossible, scary, funny or exciting but never dull. You will find yourself transported to another world! 

Happy reading! Cheers to the spirit of Indian Tea!




  1. A refreshingly different from the usual story. Loved it

  2. A wonderful beginning of a lordly life rather then the end of a rooster marinaded and transformed in the kitchen into a lip-smacking 'coq au vin'!!! Lovely anecdote. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I could feel what it was like dear Gumi , beautifully penned memories ,will look forward for more !!

  4. Enjoyed this thoroughly, Gumi!

  5. Enjoyed this delightful anecdote.. of Christmas and it's spirit.. the rooster that lived on..

  6. Hey Gumi, thanks for sharing. If I'm not wrong wasn't Jerome in the factory bungalow ? Seem to remember him as Rafat and I occupied that bungalow too.

  7. This is a wonderful initiative ... I look forward to reading.. more than contributing... Don't write much . Am a planters daughter and totally relate to all of it...

  8. Fabulous! Long live roosters. Anda nahin dega. Kyon. Kyon ki murga hai. Now what can be clearer than that? I had an Aseel rooster in the Anamallais which used to have a standoff with my Doberman. He was called Yeager. My servants called him Yeagan. Because they thought that Yeager was too respectful for a dog. That's needs some knowledge of Tamil grammar to understand bout take my word for it. This rooster and Yeager hated each other's guts. So almost daily I'd hear this vicious snarling and growling with the rooster's own version of a snarl punctuating it. I would run outside to save the rooster from having his silly head bitten off, but he had the dog so intimidated that he wouldn't dare go beyond snarling.

    Thanks a lot for that great story. Very well written and hilarious.

  9. such a typical Tea incident, every tea memsahib will look back and start recollecting. very well written. enjoyed reading. please share more .


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