Having been brought up as more of an imp than a girl, no one around expected me to set foot in the kitchen. Ever. I did have my play sets and my 'Barbie In Kitchen' kits that I used to laboriously lay out in a corner of the house on one of those sleepy Sunday afternoons and play by myself for hours but there was no way I could have shared that with my friends, all of them being guys.I could make a decent omelette somewhere in middle school and did take pains to learn how to make chicken as well. I did get a hang of baking early on too. But that was it. When seventeen I couldn't make a decent Indian meal to save my life which was quite depressing! But apart from a one-time coaxing from my Dad to make Poha and an otherwise indirect comment as to 'how I would manage' no one ever asked me to learn how to cook. They were too obsessed with getting me to study to begin with!
When in Bangalore I ventured into my friend's kitchen once in a while to make the basics for the gang - suji ka halwa, khichdi, dal, chawal.. tried fish one time with inputs from the Bong fraternity. Made bhindi once which was under-cooked and tried baking a cake which turned out to be overdone and bland! Yes, I've had my fair share of Oops! moments in the culinary department. Once at my local guardian's place they asked me to make chapatis and they turned out to be papad. They were just too nice to eat them.
Gradually with time spent at home and outside I did get to make the quintessential meal and turned everyone I know into experimental guinea pigs. Took advantage of my folks being too nice and got them to try out some good flukes and most disasters that I conjured up in a pan.
The ultimate test of good Indian cooking - the roti - was still elusive to me. With me moving into my current apartment, I tried my hand at that as well - mostly because only I could be subjected to that atrocity and also coz my roommates were quite inspiring since they can whip up a meal from scratch almost every day. So slowly I got to it - sometimes it wouldn't rise, other times it would be as sticky as glue. I've had rotis falling off and rotis popping like balloons. But yes, I can now proudly say that I can make a decent fulka without risking any dental damage to the consumer.
With all that I keep reading and watching (check out this blog
by a senior of mine that I'm a regular at - She's doing a brilliant job!), the books, the recipes I've borrowed and stolen from friends and family over time, the shows on TV - yes I'm one of those who watches only TLC, NDTV Good Times and the occasional MasterChef and of course, trying out at the plethora of restaurants I veer into, I can really think of flavours in my head and get them out on the plate.. Feels good! It's a brilliant de-stresser and gives you a weird kinda high..
I just hope I never tire of this - coz it certainly is bliss!