Eating Humble Chapati

This piece is part of  my “Rejected Stories” collection. Click here to learn more.

‘That’s not a chapati,’ Rai said to her mother, rolling her eyes. Now an expert, of course, after thirty days ‘watching’ her best friend in Zambia make them for her family. Rai had the technique down pat—not through practice, but still.

This is how you make it.’

She mixed attar flour, water and some olive oil. She kneaded the dough, formed a ball the size of her fist then rolled it until it was millimetres thin. She heated the pan with a dribble of oil.


The imperfect brown circle lay flat on the black non-stick surface, defiant—not the soft balloon she expected. Droplets of sweat trickled down Rai’s forehead.

She consciously smoothed away her frown, forced a smile as she cut off a small piece with the spatula.

‘Ugh!’ She gagged from the ghastly taste and looked up at the heavens, completely perplexed.

I’m 24 years old, she thought, her shoulders slumped. The kitchen just doesn’t like me.

The next day, her mother greeted her with bursts of laughter, saying, ‘I was wondering what happened to the 250 grams of garlic powder I just bought.’

This was originally created in 2018.

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