My sleep is suddenly roused by my alarm that tick-tocks at 5 am. Intensely, I crave for a second round of shut-eye. Unmindful of the weekend, my mind starts thinking about the planned and unplanned regime of chores. The unconscious mechanism kicks in and I rush to brush my teeth. The first crisis is coffee. Being someone who abstains from coffee, I detest the idea of preparing it for my husband and mother-in-law who are devout lovers of the brew and can drink it any number of times a day. I proffer each of them a glass of the invigorating drink and watch my husband fine-tune my preparation to match his taste as he always does.
Energised with caffeine, my loved ones offer a number of recipes for me to select from. Cooking was never my forte. But with a nonchalant attitude I again start to exhibit my cooking ineptitude, insulating myself from interruptions. My creative instinct kicks in and I start the proceedings with sambar. With all the elemental compositions in the correct proportions, I expect a miraculous transformation. But I fail to get the expected result and wonder why it has not given the proper savour. I want to know what, where and how it went wrong.
I glance at my menu list and focus on the next item. It is time to prepare rasam. Casually, I add all ingredients and put my stove in low flame. Happily, I inhale the appetising aroma of rasam pervading the air. Reassuring myself of success, I swiftly move on to my next item, which is a simple potato curry. Instantly I synchronise my thought process and my hands move deftly for two varieties of curry—a pulpy mass for my mother-in-law and crispy fries for my husband and children.
These are certainly not imperious demands, but the dishes turn out to be placid disasters. Eventually my mind moves to the next item in the list, but I now feel stretched to breaking point.Though I have the courage to accept challenges unhesitatingly, my family is a really tangible sign that there exists God, for they happily take my culinary tests with infinite kindness. Thirty years of practice has not led to any expertise. It has made me understand that I am still less than perfect and have a long way to go.