Please bring some more honey – Memoirs

One of the first people we had the pleasure of meeting after we moved into our new home in the ‘gunj, was a lady by the name of…let’s call her Norma Nickles.  Norma, was a sprightly senior with  snow-white, well coiffed hair who lived about a kilometer and a half from our home which was a little less than half way between her house and the local Catholic church.

Not quite that pretty, but I liked the picture. Pride and Prejudice Bennett  House Dining Room
Not quite that pretty, but I liked the picture.
Pride and Prejudice Bennett House Dining Room

One fine Sunday morning, after the good Catholic Christians of the ‘gunj went to church, Norma Nickles stopped by our house just to visit, and casually inquire as to the cause of our absence from church. We had just sat down to breakfast in our open porch, and etiquette demanded that we invite her to partake.  Ms. Nickles enjoyed breakfast at our home tremendously. Between generous helpings of apricot and guava jams, and fresh honey on buttered bread and sips of coffee, she happily nattered on about life in the gunj, her important presence, her early and pretty, and important years etc, and then, well fortified, she left.

And the next Sunday she was back.

And the Sunday after that.

By now we had moved our Sunday breakfast venue into our dining room, hoping that Norma Nickles  would get the hint, but she was either as thick as a brick or shameless and cunning. Knowing her, I am betting on the latter.

By the fourth Sunday  Ms. Nickles had come to think that we were her free breakfast ticket, and by now started to order me around. ‘Be a darling and refill the honey jar, dearie,’ she would say. Never mind that we had purposefully kept the jar only half full because she was very generous with her helpings of everything. While we took a small spoon of jam, our ‘guest’ heaped several spoonfuls atop her generously buttered slice of toast. We weren’t rich, and these little joys were dear and hard to get since the local store didn’t carry them. To buy these things we had to travel to the nearest town and that was a trip which happened rarely and required an entire day!  At least we made the butter at home.

After several Sundays like this my mother had had enough. So she devised a plan which was promptly executed the very next Sunday.

Ms. Norma Nickles punctually appeared at 10:30 AM after Sunday mass and sat on our green bench in our open porch, no doubt expecting to be summoned in to enjoy her breakfast.  As instructed by my wily mother she was met by me, and I kept her chatting while my parents ate breakfast.  Then my father came out, and I went in to eat while he ‘entertained’ our increasingly irate ‘guest.’  After a while, when my father went back inside,  and my mother came out, it became clear to Norma Nickles that she was not going to get her free luxury breakfast this Sunday, nor, likely ever again. She let loose a verbal barrage about how rude we were, and that she had never ever been treated like this, and on and on. My mother just calmly smiled, wished her a pleasant morning and went back into the house, leaving a red-faced and one would think rather hungry Norma Nickles ranting and raving her way home.

She didn’t come back the next Sunday, or ever again after that.


  1. You forgot to mention that she did this or something similar to every newcomer in Gunj, or to people who are to polite to tell her off. In one house, when the owner war not at home she ordered the servants around, opened the fridge, took out a fresh raw chicken, packed it and took it home. There where always a few plastic bags in her handbag which she took out shameless to empty the offered biscuits or whatever could be packed. This had nothing to do with money. She had sufficient money to buy her own food. After she had an accident in which her knee was damaged and she needed an operation, she wrote with the help of your daddy, whom she had called to the hospital, to different people and organisation for help to pay the hospital bill. One letter went to the chairman of Tata steel, one to the anglo indian association and one each to somebody inAustralia an England. And everybody paid the bill. When I told your daddy “How could you?” he, gentleman that he is, told me that one could not behave differently when an old lady needs help. She had a very good knowledge and a feeling which people could be used for what purpose. There are a lot more storys about her, Again you Daddy was requested to help her to go to Ranchi to the bank. She asked [in an bigger bank] for the general manager and was told that he is in an meeting. Smart as she was she found out the room where the meeting happened went there with your dad, whose protests she ignored, sat down, told the general manager to carry on, she would wait if she could get a cup of coffee. Of course, the meeting was stopped and the gentleman attended first to her needs, which any small clerk in the bank could have done. And the storys about her go on and on…

    • Yes. I did forget that. After all, I did spend most of my time in school. She was such a shameless hussie. LOL I hope it made you laugh though, reading this, and made Papa feel a little bit better, even if for a minute 🙂

  2. Good for you with your dastardly plan to get rid of her! She sounds awful.
    When i was at scool I learnt a Yiddish word for exactly this type of person from the Jewish classmates – a Schnorrer. It’s even fun saying it. I think they would have led her hear the word “schnorrer” quietly wafting out through the curtains to give her the message that her number was up!!!
    he handbag stach of plastic bags did remind me of my Granny, though, who used us kids as fruit picking slaves every time she found something growing wild. She once ejected us out of the car in the middle of nowhere, in a gale, poked plastic bags out through a slot of open window and told us we could not get back inside till we had picked all those little white berries off that bush. We didn’t even know what they were!!
    Eventually it turned out they were wimberries but we were not allowed to eat them, she insisted Grandpa got the lot!!!

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