Like many firsts in life, this has the unmistakable label of adventure written all over it.
It was a typical hot summery Sunday in Trichy, circa 1970. We lived in a boisterous family, overflowing with severals aunts, uncles and their children – a family so large that often in the conundrum of daily chores people routinely forgot who else lived in the house and what the children were up to. My father, an engineer in the Department of Telecom (DoT) was the supposed patriarch of the house, much feared by many children of the house for being a disciplinarian but extremely kind at heart.
He made it a practice to buy us Chocobar ice cream (which costed just 75 paise in those glorious days) every Sunday.
On this particular Sunday in the summer of 1970, when the Ice Cream Vendor came along with his bell, the whole family suddenly discovered that I had gone missing from home…well, not just home but apparently from the entire locality. I wasn’t indulging in my regular Sunday games.
Meanwhile a couple of kilometers away in a dry thorny forested area, two little heads with twin pigtails each were bobbing over a fire. My friend Gomathi and I had decided that 9 years was a good enough age to venture into cooking and we weren’t prepared to take the “no’s” we’d hear from our family. We were itching to cook – and our mothers and aunts wouldn’t allow us to even enter the kitchen.
So, as I was telling you, on this hot afternoon of a 1970 Sunday, we stole some chutney dal, sugar and a couple of utensils from the house. We built an aduppu (stove in tamil) with some stones and made a fire with the twigs, and made ourselves Kadalai Urundai (Chutney Dal Laddoos).
The laddoos turned out really yummy , though no one has had a whiff of them for all these thirty seven years.
We returned home after a good five hours of relishing this exciting experience. I slowly merged into the large overflowing family – no one really prodded me much – I had a hundred friends and could anytime easily pass off by saying I was with x,y or z.
Besides I was hardly at home on Sundays, except for ice cream (Ah, there are so many more adventures to share 🙂 ).
What about your first cooking experience?