'Prayas!' He knows that when I take his name I mean business.
'Go to the fridge, open it, there is a white packet of tulasi leaves in there. Take two leaves, wash them, crush them, and put it in your tea cup. Right now!'
'But I don't want tulasi leaves in my tea.'
'You want me to let you go to work or not?'
'What does tulasi have to do with my going to work?'
'Listen, both me and Pavan are grounded. You are our only contact with the swine flu germ. So you also have to take care. You have to wear the mask on the bus, wash your hands for fifteen seconds ten times a day, eat your influenzum pills, have tulasi in your tea. If not, stay at home. Baat khatam!'
He looks at me for a second. Then quietly goes and gets the tulasi leaves.
After half an hour, on my way to the kitchen, I pick up his empty tea cup. I can see two leaves stuck to the inside of the cup. They dont look like tulasi. They are not. They are kadipatta leaves!