Nikki, a 20-something Punjabi girl brought up in England, is caught in a tussle between her “traditional” family and her own “modern” outlook. But when she begins teaching an English class at the local gurudwara in London’s Southall, the seemingly “traditional” women she meets take her by surprise.
They hijack the class to tell erotic stories and the tales they narrate could plunge the men in their community into cardiac arrest. These tales might even put the women in danger if the ‘Brothers’ – the local moral police – caught whiff of what was going on.
You will never look at ghee the same way again, enjoy this extract from Balli Kaur Jaswal’s latest book ‘Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows‘.
“‘In my time, you just relied on what your married sisters and cousins told you,’ Arvinder said.
Nikki could picture it – a young and blushing Arvinder surrounded by giggly sari-clad relatives, taking turns to offer words of wisdom. There was something enviable about the scene. She couldn’t imagine having such a moment before Mindi’s wedding. ‘That sounds nice,’ she said. ‘You looked out for each other.’
‘It was useful,’ Preetam said. ‘Like when my cousin Diljeet said “Use ghee to grease things up down there.”’
‘I was the one who told you that,’ Arvinder said. ‘Oldest trick in the book.’
“Sheena burst out laughing. ‘Look at Nikki’s face!’ she cried. So, Nikki was obviously unsuccessful at hiding her mortification then. She had a mental image of Mum in the kitchen spreading a lump of ghee across the surface of a heating tava where it melted instantly. Now ghee had an entirely different association.
‘That’s right,’ Preetam recalled. ‘It was Diljeet who warned me to be discreet, and to always try to sneak some ghee into a small container during cooking without my mother-in-law noticing. Otherwise it was challenging to get big drums of ghee into the bedroom without the rest of the family seeing.’
‘Don’t you have those little tubs for the kitchen?’ Nikki asked.
‘Costco sells them in bulk,’ Preetam said. ‘Why are you wasting money buying small-small tubs?’
‘I was given a useful tip to please my husband if he wanted it during my time of the month,’ Manjeet said. ‘Let him put it in your armpit, then do this.’ Manjeet cranked her arm up and down.
‘You didn’t!’ Sheena exclaimed.
‘I did,’ Manjeet said. ‘He liked it. He said it had the same feeling as my private parts – hairy and warm.’
Nikki had never struggled so hard to keep a straight face. She made eye contact with Sheena, who had her hands cupped over her mouth. Laughter rippled through Sheena’s sleeves.
‘Many women didn’t even know what was expected of them until their wedding night,’ Preetam said. ‘Not me, thankfully, but can you imagine the surprise?’
‘You’re very welcome,’ Arvinder said. ‘I told you everything you had to know.’
‘Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows‘ by Balli Kaur Jaswal, HarperCollins