I was nine years old then I think. In those days back in early 70’s we never had a phone at home. The only person that had a phone and a car in our family was our Periappa and Periamma who used to live in Mahalingapuram. I remember their phone number even today 421531 for some weird reason. Those days when people wanted to visit relatives they would write a letter in advance about their intentions. My Periappa and Periamma came home one day unannounced.
My father had gone out on some work and my mom had gone out to get Groceries. I offered the guests water and asked if they would like to eat something. They jokingly said sure and must have thought what 9 year old could possibly make. I made Rava Upma quickly and offered it to them with some sugar like how I would normally eat it. My Periappa and Periamma were surprised and shocked at the same time. My mom walked in and my Periappa quipped that one day I would grow up and become a chef. I had never heard of the word Chef till then. I had to look it up in the dictionary.
In my school days math and science never interested me. The thought of Engineering and Medicine was just not in my mind. I loved to make something at home all the time. Old left over rice soaked in water would become tasty Thayir Sadam the next day with Sautéed finely chopped Red Onions, Chillies, ginger, mustard seeds, Urad dal and Hing served with vintage lime pickle. Everyone used to love it.
When I say vintage lime pickle I really mean it. Two to three years old preserved in one of those jars used for storing strong acids like sulphuric acid and nitric acid.
–to be continued…