The first reader to challenge me today is http://allaboutlemon.com/These are her ingredients: 1. I like to see some ginger kind of feeling in a story of a little girl with some touch of rosemary and cinnamon with a whisk of cheese all over.
By the age of eight, ginger-haired Dolly and her flaxen-haired friend Rosemary were old hands at life and privately giggled behind their hands at their parents. Not in a nasty way, just in the “oh, all right, then, Mummy” way that little girls and boys often do. Inseparable was what their parents all called the girls. On a bleak holiday afternoon with no school for days, Rosemary was away visiting her grandparents and Dolly found herself alone again in the house with one of the servants.
“Balvir, what are you doing?” Dolly asked, her curious, freckled nose poking over the counter as she stood watching the slim woman straining a white mixture through cheese cloth.
“I am making paneer,” Balvir said.
“I love paneer! Can I help?”
Dolly’s eager hands knocked the bowl over before Balvir could react. The clots of cheese dribbled down the counter onto the floor and Balvir’s cloth dangled from one hand. Dolly instantly shut her big, blue eyes and her shoulders automatically hunched up together, waiting… Balvir spoke quickly.
“Don’t worry, Dolly, we will make again, I need you help me.”
She smiled and Dolly relaxed into the warmth of the kitchen, the fragrances of goodness and safety that would wrap her in comfort long into the future.
Rosemary arrived home with gifts, full of stories of fun with her parents and grandparents, snowy sleigh rides, bells, hot cocoa, sparkling city lights on all the towers around Big Ben and an unexpected surprise for Dolly.
“So what did you do while I was away,” she asked, as soon as the two were settled in Rosemary’s frilly pink bedroom. Rosemary wore her new red velvet Christmas dress with shoes to match. Even the ribbons in her braided hair were exactly the same shade of red as the dress.
Dolly thought about this and brightened, “I made paneer with Balvir!”
“Oh, so what,” Rosemary said. “So you made cheese. Who cares about that, anybody can do that. What else did you do?”
Again, Dolly fell quiet.
“I love Balvir. She is the kindest person I know,” Dolly said, twirling one of her soft ginger curls around a finger like a corkscrew.
“Oh, bloody hell, she’s a servant and she is cinnamon skinned, why would you love her?” Rosemary asked.
Busy pulling her cache out to display for Dolly, she failed to notice Dolly had already moved to the door.
Dolly yanked the door open with one hand and turned to answer Rosemary who was now paying attention. At full attention, frozen with all her pretty gifts in her hands just the way Dolly would remember her forever.
“Balvir’s skin is REAL! And it’s not cheese, it’s PANEER, you idiot!”
Dolly ran all the way home before she realized that she still held the gift she’d meant to give Rosemary in her hand. A handmade gift she had fashioned with Balvir’s help, a Christmas tree ornament they’d painted over with a map of the world, the land all gold, the waters all blue, the same beautiful lands and waters that separated Balvir from her family. Once inside her own bedroom, Dolly tore the tag off the gift and replaced it with a new, larger tag that read:Happy Christmas to Balvir my beloved best friend. With love forever from Dolly. (c) November 23 2011 JAuroraMorealist ____________________________________________