Iswaran also had an amazing capacity to produce vegetables and cooking ingredients, seemingly out of nowhere, in the middle of a desolate landscape with no shops visible for miles around. He would miraculously conjure up the most delicious dishes made with fresh vegetables within an hour of arriving at the zinc-sheet shelter at the new workplace.
     Mahendra would be up early in the morning and leave for work after breakfast, carrying some prepared food with him. Meanwhile Iswaran would tidy up the shed, wash the clothes, and have a leisurely bath, pouring several buckets of water over his head, muttering a prayer all the while. It would be lunchtime by then. After eating, he would read for a while before dozing off. The book was usually some popular Tamil thriller running to hundreds of pages. Its imaginative descriptions and narrative flourishes would hold Iswaran in thrall.
Iswaran was not only a good storyteller, but he was also a great cook. Mahendra was always surprised by Iswaran's capacity to cook delicious food using fresh ingredients, especially within an hour of their arrival at their new accommodation. They lived in areas where they could not find any house and people, and they stayed under temporary shelters made of roofs with zinc sheets. As they lived in the middle of a desolate landscape, there would not be any shops nearby. So Iswaran would have to walk a longer distance to find a grocery or vegetable shop. Here, Mahendra describes the talent of Iswaran as he would get the fresh vegetables and ingredients needed for cooking from the desolate landscape, prepare delicious food, and everything within an hour's time.  Cooking was an art, and Iswaran was good at that.
A man cooking delicious food

Mahendra would wake up early in the morning, get ready and leave for work after eating his breakfast. Also, he would carry his lunch along with him. After he left, Iswaran would clean their living place, wash Mahendra’s clothes and have a nice bath. He would pour several buckets of water over his head, and he would always mutter a prayer. Later, he would eat his lunch. After lunch, he had a habit of reading books. Iswaran was interested in reading Tamil thriller books, and the book would contain a lot of pages. While reading the story, Iswaran would go deeper into the narrative style and descriptions given in the book. He feels very excited to read the thrilling stories. After reading the book, he would take a nap.
Meanings of the difficult words:
IngredientAny of the food or substances that are combined to make a particular dish
Desolate A place seemed to be empty without any houses or shop
Miraculously In a way that suggests or resembles a miracle
Conjure To make something appear by magic
Leisurely Without hurry
Muttering To speak quietly and in a low voice that is not easy to hear
Dozing offFall lightly asleep
Description A written or spoken statement about something that enables a reader or listener to picturise it
ThrallThe state of being in someone's power, or of having great power over someone
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Moments. Iswaran the Storyteller– R.K. Laxman (pp. 12-18). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.