"Let's get this meeting underway. There only one week left for the party so we have to make some critical decisions today. First order of the business is teams for the cook off.
Alex have you been able to split the contestants in two teams?"
"I have managed to narrow it down to four teams but it's almost impossible to get it down to two."
"Why? What is the problem? Haven't we already decided that we will form teams based on the type of cuisine they are going to make?"
"Your original suggestion was to have European verses Asian cook off but that leaves out people like me who come from Africa." Layla the exotic Egyptian dancer points out.
"And Russia is in both Europe and Asia but for the record I object to lump my country with either Europe or Asia." Alexandra the Russian girl working in Madam Rose' establishment states.
"Why is she even here? She doesn't live in the block. She only works here part time" this comes from Ae-Cha the Korean girl who is her business rival and arch enemy.
"You live here because you can't afford to live anywhere else." Alexandra retaliates back.
Well these two did come with a warning from Madam Rose. They have been at each other's throat since they started working here. You can't even separate the two because each wants to do the exact same thing that the other person is doing.
Madam Rose tells me that they love each other in their own way but I haven't seen evidence of any mutual fondness between them. This is soon going to escalate in a minor war.
Layla for a change is a voice of reason. "Cha didn't you tell us in the last meeting that you don't want to be included in the Mediterranean group."
"Yes that's right. I can work with Chinese if I have to but food from the Middle East is totally different."
"Personally I think French way is the only way of cooking." Monique puts her two cents worth.
"Have you even stepped foot out of this country let alone gone to France. Besides you don't even know how to cook. You managed to burn the butter down the other day when Alice was teaching you how to make pancakes." Layla hates Monique's guts and is not afraid to show it to anyone.
"Alice told me that I don't need to cook to be on the judging panel and I can trace my ancestry back for several generations. My great grandmother comes from a village in south of France. You grew up on the streets of Cairo. Do you even know who your parents are?"
"Yes I am an orphan and proud of the fact. I have come far all on my own. Your great grandmother could at least work as a scullery maid. You can't even get a job cleaning toilets."
"You are just a glorified waitress and a barmaid who does few dance routines for people's entertainment when they are eating and drinking."
I am really glad when I asked for volunteers for the party I set the limit to only twenty people. I also made it clear that first five to join will form the organising committee.
So I could stop my volunteer intake and decide the committee members with a clear conscious and without any accusation of a preferential treatment. The fact that Alex was there when the party idea started and he is also on the committee is just a coincidence.
If I have this much trouble with only five people then I can't even imagine the issues we will have on the actual day of the party.
Alex the only guy present steps in this debate. "You know now why it is hard to make two teams. So I have finalised my four teams. They are African, Indian/Mediterranean, Eurasian and South East Asian. I had also allowed only four members in each team. With you, me, Monique and Sam on the judging panel.
Actually many more people were interested. I had to promise to give them a chance next time."
"Alex, we can't have four teams as we only have two kitchens available."
"Why can't we have Masterchef style elimination. The teams will do the cooking in the coming week with two people getting eliminated everyday. We will have the finals on Sunday."
"Alex, as it is I am opening my kitchen, Sam's kitchen and both our bedrooms for the cook off on Sunday. I can't let people use our bedrooms as a thoroughfare every day of the week."
"But I can't make just two teams."
"I will get the globe I have to help us decide the teams."
Now we are trying to select team members with the help of a globe.
"We can't choose the equator as a criteria as more people are from north of equator than south. We can use the Greenwitch meridian line and Date line as division points."
"Hum I see what you mean but we have more representation from this side of Greenwitch line than the other. Can we use the line of Cancer?"
Sam the master of entrances comes in with Luke at this point. He looks tired today. He had to miss out on his sleep to take care of Luke so that I could go shopping and get ready for the meeting. He can get only couple of hours sleep when Luke has his nap in the afternoon.
Sam doesn't like having Alice around if he is present. She is so scared of him that I have to always act as a buffer between them. He says that she makes him feel like a worse offender and criminal in his own home.
He assured me that he will survive one day with less sleep. He likes to take Luke to the nearby park during daytime when he can. This way he gets to see the sun and daylight and is not left feeling like a vampire. I still feel little sorry for him.
Luke thinks that the Globe is his toy and wants to play with it. I did buy it for him but we need to use it now.
"What are you doing with the globe. I thought we were going to have the meeting for the party."
"We are trying to divide the participants in two teams. We were able to make four teams based on the region of the food they will be cooking but we have to narrow it down to two."
"Let me get this straight. You are dividing people based on the region. Why are you dividing people when you can unite them?"
"I don't understand."
"Rather than making a team based on one region why not have a team which has representation of all the regions?"
"That's really a great idea. Why didn't we think about that?"
"You came with the idea of a cook off. I could never have suggested something like that in the block.
Besides I was thinking from a judging point of view. We have agreed to do blind tasting for the fairness sake but if each team cooks totally different food then it would be easy to know who cooked what. I am the first one to admit that I have totally pedestrian tastes when it comes to food but even I can differentiate between an Asian cuisine and a Mediterranean one."
This solves our most persistent problem of forming two teams. We are able to come up with two teams of eight with members in each coming from different region of world without any further trouble.
Ae-Cha and Alexandra for the reasons of their own choose to become teammates. The meeting is concluded and the food is consumed and everyone leaves on a happy note.
"Sam, I am still thinking what you said to us about why we are dividing people when we can unite them. It's really very deep thought."
"It's simple really. Look at this globe. The earth is round but we divide earth horizontally as well as vertically. Then we divide it further based on the religion, language, race.
It's all bah humbug if you ask me. I have been in militia and taken part in various regional conflicts. First for the glory then for the money. One side is exactly same as the other side. My compatriots think that I defected them by abandoning the cause and coming here. Some of them have even sworn to take a revenge on me. I want to tell them that in the end we are all people."
"Why are you running a strip club? You should be doing missionary work or social service instead."
"I do provide essential service by running a strip club. Where would all the boyfriends go whose girlfriend abandons them in the morning and chooses to go shopping."
YOU ARE READING
Place called HomeRomance
This is a complex love story of Alice and Sam from Alice’s point of view. Alice is a kindergarten teacher. Sam is a shady character. On the paper, he owns and runs a strip club but in reality, he is underworld boss. This is story of how they m...