It happened just after my eyes fell on the notice stuck to one of the walls at Khan’s Butchery.

“Ready fried onions. Perfect for vagaars and biryanis. Don’t be fooled by imitations”.

Where my mind was fixed on the pastrami and chump chops, it was now ambushed by intrigue. Fake fried onions? What a thing! Perhaps the onions were really reconstituted soya, that Madonna of the plant world. Repeatedly re-invented, they have the power to become anything. I mean, look at Robert Mugabe.

Or maybe, they were made out of Soylent Green?

Seriously, how can you even try to monopolise the ready-fried onion market? You might as well patent rotis and snatch the aloo ghosht out the mouths of some entrepreneurally-spirited housewife’s brats.

Such were the brainworks that I forget my copy of the Al-Huda magazine at the cashier. It’s not a regular read, but a new editorial team promised to make it a bit more of a thinky than others in its category.

I was almost at my car when I heard the shout.

“Aunty, you forgot this!”

My sheepish thank you was Saaleha-speak for, “Aunty? Aveh!* Who’s your uncle? I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of his acquaintance.”

But unfortunately, much was lost in the translation.

I got into the car and made sure my radio was turned up loud.

” ‘Tsek Aunty. Which Aunty you know listens to the Best of MTV Unplugged?!”

It was futile, he was gone.

I’m only 25 dammit! And he looked older than me.

Granted, I was in Aunty-gear; scarf, skirt and sensible flats. Should’ve gone with the red mary-janes and one of my Springleap t-shirts.

Agh, yes, I do know he was just being respectful. I’m trying to fan up some vanity here.

It gets harder as we age you know.

*guji for ‘and now what’; used as an ejaculation of surprise (no, not the kind you need to go to the men’s clinic to sort out)