It’s bound to be utterly delicious “, he said, “cooks are from Qatar, no joke.”
I was waiting for my turn sitting in a corner with my head buried in the newspaper when this remark made me look up; he was cutting hairs of an elderly half-bald man while talking to another old guy sitting at the other end of the pew, almost on the edge, with his head tilted to the left like he was really enjoying either the talk or the wait, not that he had that much time on his plate at this age but he wouldn’t have any choice, I thought.
Ayub is talkative and it works out well for his profession as a barber. You could spend hours listening to his narratives and not get bored.
“Only thing is, that I am not invited”, he continues, “and he is”, he adds further pointing to the soda stall next to his shop.
“This is funny because I was the one who introduced them, and now they seem to be going at it without me”, he said with a scoff followed by a grin, and then a self-assuring smile which remained plastered to his face for few more minutes until he started to speak again, “Have you ever had such a relishing dish?”, asked he to the other old man sitting at the corner of the bench.
Man shook his head.
At this point Ayub picks up a different pair of scissors and steps out for a few seconds, looks here and there on the road and then stares at the hardware store across the road from his shop.
“They are going too”, he said as he started trimming moustaches of the man in the chair, “You should know the recipe is pretty special and intriguing, let me tell you.”
He goes on without waiting for any response, “First chicken will be washed in detergent powder for an hour..”, I tilted my head, “..then it will be dried out and immersed in boiling kerosene.”
I was trying to find any hint of jest on his face but it looked sincere as he continued telling about the recipe.
“Once fried in kerosene, four bags of chewing-tobacco will be poured into it and then it will be mixed and mashed into keema.”
And he remarked, “Who would not want to be invited to a party where one will be served with such delicious chicken-keema!”
I continued staring at his face in awe and amusement. If he was laughing in the inside, he certainly was doing a great job hiding the expressions from showing up on his face and in his sad but twinkling eyes.
“That is what takes him through the day.. he keeps amusing himself and everyone around him”, I thought to myself.
I was interrupted by a nonchalant voice, “You’re next! Please come”, it was Ayub, smiling at me as I rose and went to sit in the chair.