It was 11 pm when they knocked at the door. “Unusual”, I thought. Zantia opened the door. From upstairs I tried to focus my attention on who she was talking to. It had been a busy day and I was looking forward to going to bed and watch a movie. But not that night. Afia was talking to a man about her husband, Zahir. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of days, actually.
That time I was living with a Bangladeshi couple in Elephant and Castle, South East London. Zantia was born in the city and, apart from her appearence, she behaved and talked exactly as a 28-year-old Londoner. Zahir left Bangladesh for England 5 years before. Distant relative from Zantia, they soon married. He was only 22 and he spent most of his days on the couch, watching Bangladeshi films and eating Bangladeshi food. One day he started working at McDonald’s. After two days his hands were all burned because of the boiling oil of the chips: “It’s dangerous. Too hard work.” The next day he was sitting on the couch again.
Once a week he cooked. He cooked a bunch of food that was left in the kitchen in a couple of old pans until the following cooking-day. Mostly lamb, with a sharp sauce. And rice, of course. Needless to say, there was curry everywhere. And I hate curry. I can’t stand its smell. They had giant jars of curry everywhere. Yellow, orange, milder, hotter. Every kind of it. They used to buy it at Brick Lane market and every centimetre of the house smelled like a Brick Lane’s stand. So why on earth did I end up to live there, you are probably wondering. But that’s another story…
[to be continued...]