The Doctor stumbled out of the blue box, his foot crunching down into a sandy surface, a double shadow of the TARDIS stretching out before him into a stark, arid landscape of yellow below the intense azure of a sky illuminated by twin suns – but none of that interested him.
His face was a picture of panic as his hands frantically searched pockets, first the breast pocket and then lower down.
“Bombay Mix…!?…I need Bombay Mix…Mrs Swami’s Bombay Mix, specifically…this just won’t do..!”
He stepped backwards into the TARDIS and slammed the door, disappearing altogether.
A Town in West London – the mid 1970’s
The Doctor lifted the door of the lock-up garage in an alley between 2 rows of 2 storey Victorian terraced houses. He tentatively peered out to see if the way was clear, before stepping out onto the street, narrowly avoiding a woman pushing a pram.
His frock coat didn’t seem overly out of place in that time or setting – he could have been one of the “long-haired layabouts” who were often seen playing gigs at the local pub around the corner – The Northcote Arms, a popular venue for emerging bands.
“Number 64, number 64…” he muttered as he ran along the street counting out the door numbers, dodging children playing in the street, before stopping at number 64.
Suburbia – this time the mid-80’s
Mrs Swami buttoned up her coat over her sari, pulling a chiffon scarf over her head, as she said goodbye to her husband & kids – each preoccupied in either reading or watching TV.
“O.K…rice is cooking…I’m off to see the Doctor, see you…”
Her husband looked up briefly from behind his newspaper as she left through the front door of number 29.
Mrs Swami hurried through the early morning streets, a voluminous handbag hooked onto her arm – every so often she looked inside and rummaged about as if to check the contents.
A milk cart delivering milk clinked and rattled its way towards her before stopping abruptly with the sound of screeching brakes, making her momentarily stop in her tracks.
Exchanging glances with the driver, a flicker of recognition passed over her face, and fishing out a large white plastic bag bulging with something from her handbag, she handed this over to the driver.
The milk cart promptly moved off, and as Mrs Swami watched it, the clinking and rattling sound was gradually replaced by a pulsating like the sound of waves breaking on a shore, but in reverse, as the milk cart gradually, literally, vanished from sight.
The Doctor threw the milkman’s hat onto a nearby coat hanger before placing the large white bulging plastic bag on the TARDIS console and hurriedly untying the tight knot which held it shut – a soft golden glow suddenly bathed his features as the bag yielded.
“Ahhh…THIS is the stuff…” he sighed, breathing in a multitude of aromas.
…And so it went on, time after time, era after era, the decades flying by and the Doctor returning time and again.
And as Mrs Swami aged, the Doctor returned to the past or from the future and Mrs Swami’s visits to the “doctor” became more frequent & her Bombay Mix transcended the boundaries of space and time.
There were many occasions during the Doctor’s travels where Mrs Swami’s Bombay Mix was a source of comfort and even an occasional peace offering to hostile aliens. It could be counted on to get him out of a sticky corner, of which there were many. Better than Jelly Babies by a long way!
But the Doctor knew that time was against him and Mrs Swami, and in fact was his greatest enemy, even more than the Daleks. So he took the precaution of preserving a quantity inside a quantum field in the TARDIS, both in case of emergencies and to keep a record of the unique blend of flavours and ingredients which made Mrs Swami’s Bombay Mix unique in all the Multiverses, little knowing that in doing so he would unleash a threat to the very existence of space & time.
Mrs Swami, by now elderly, is sitting on a low wooden stool in front of a small butane gas cooker in her kitchen.
A pan full of oil on the cooker fries various ingredients, which she meticulously prepares and assembles.
The sound of tapping on glass momentarily breaks her concentration and as she looks up, she sees the shadow of a figure outside.
“Window cleaner…today ?…what a pain…I didn’t ask him to come…still…”
The Doctor tapped frantically on the glass and watched as Mrs Swami got up with some difficulty to open the kitchen window.
“Yes ?…what do you want ?…” she said as she held the window open, her eyes squinting through her bifocals, “Oh…it’s you…”
“May I come in…?” said the Doctor, “I’ve been looking high and low for you…you’ve moved”
“No…you know what we agreed” she replied, “I’m making new…you’ll have to wait…”
The Doctor stood nervously rubbing his hands together.
“O.K…not a problem…well actually, there is a problem…that last batch of your excellent Bombay Mix, well…it’s sort of gone AWOL”…
Mrs Swami gave a wry laugh…”You mean you finished it…”
Mrs Swami shut the kitchen window and went back to her Bombay Mix, worried that something might burn or that the oil might get too hot.
The Doctor tried to explain the details of his dilemma through the double glazed window, gesticulating wildly, his voice muted and heard intermittently over the sizzle of frying.
“You see, it’s like this…I put some of your excellent Bombay Mix inside a quantum containment field, in case of emergencies…you know, break the glass in case of, sort of thing….well, there was an emergency….in the future…but it’s not enough”…rambled the Doctor.
Very little of this got through to Mrs Swami as she forced dough through tiny holes in an ancient-looking brass device into the hot oil – squiggly worm-like shapes which rose to the surface of the oil in a solid golden mass as they cooked.
The Doctor watched, transfixed, an expression of wonder mixed with dawning horror.
Mrs Swami came out some time later with a large container full of the Bombay Mix.
“Here…this should keep you quiet for a while…” she said, laughing.
It was some time later that the Doctor entered the TARDIS with the freshly made Bombay Mix, and as the TARDIS doors shut behind him he took a handful of the Bombay Mix and tossed it into his mouth.
For that moment he leaned back against the door as the flavours filled his mouth and the aromas his nose…
“Ahhh…still the same…how do you do it Mrs Swami ?…what’s the secret that makes YOUR Bombay Mix better than everyone else’s ?…”
As he munched he strode forward up to the TARDIS console and placed the container of Mrs Swami’s Bombay Mix next to the confusion of levers and buttons.
“Well”, he muttered resignedly “We have our work cut out for us, Mrs Swami, but with your Bombay Mix at hand…I THINK we can sort it out…”
The Doctor punched in coordinates, pushed and pulled levers and pressed buttons and set the TARDIS in motion, throwing it into the far future.
Somewhere in Space and Time..
A distant dying world hovering on the edge of an immense Black Hole, the surviving inhabitants are hatching a plan to drive their entire world into it and by so doing allow them to access any part of space & time and further their aim of conquering the known universe…
The Doctor stumbled out of the TARDIS, which had materialized just outside a control room where the planet’s inhabitants were about to throw the switch that would initiate moving their world into the Black Hole.
“Well, Hello there !” shouted the Doctor…”have you tried Mr Swami’s excellent Bombay Mix, by any chance ?”
Startled, the inhabitants turn away from their consoles to face the Doctor.
“INTRUDER ALERT !!!!…EXTERMINATE!!!!” echoed in a crackling electronic chorus as the Doctor hurled the Bombay Mix towards them.
“Here !…be my guest…ENJOY!!”
Time itself seemed to hold its breath while the inhabitants lunged forward as the Bombay Mix showered down, hitting the polished metal floor and sliding underneath their electromagnetic skirts, causing them to lose control and crash into each other as their weapons fired in all directions, destroying equipment and each other.
The Doctor watched in amazement at the unfolding chaos, breathing a sigh of relief as their plans crumbled in a blizzard of puffed rice and crunchy squiggly things that made up Mrs Swami’s Bombay Mix.
Dashing back to the TARDIS, the Doctor made his escape, maneuvering to a safe vantage point in space as the planet spun wildly off-course.
Rubbing his hands together he walked over the quantum field and switched it off.
“Time for a celebration, I think…”
Digging his hand into the pile of Bombay Mix inside the quantum field, he scooped up a generous handful.
“Hmmm. tastes just as good as it did in…oh…1985…a good year, Mrs Swami…a very good year…”
And the Doctor leaned back enjoying the delicate mélange of flavours and textures.
“…a cure for what ails you, I think, eh, Mrs Swami ?…Here’s to you and your wonderful Bombay Mix !….”