Hector could hear Kamal talking in the other side of the store, then the cash register chiming and the receipt printer grinding. A few seconds later a white couple came around the corner with the slip of paper. They handed it to Hector, he nodded, gestured for them to take one of the long family style tables, and went to work in the kitchen.
Hector had worked in a few taquerias before, and knew his way around a kitchen, but even he was surprised to find himself here. Kamal had taken the time to teach him traditional Indian cooking. The proper way to season a curry, the exact ratio of potatoes to spices in the perfect samosa, what good – really good – tandoori was.
Sometimes, after the store was closed, they would sit and talk while Hector finished cleaning up. Kamal would bring him a tea cup filled with rich chai, and they would talk as best they could through each others’ broken English.
They’d talk about the deserts they grew up in, those desolate empty spaces, filled up by people, their culture, their lives, their food. Hector’s closer, Kamal’s farther, but both worlds away from where they found themselves now.
This one is for the kitchen crew at the SaiGruha Indian Market on Winchester. They make the best damned Indian food in the city, and the fact that you’ve got a Hispanic kitchen at an Indian restaurant should tell you about the melting pot nature of our city.