She dashed up the stairs, her heart racing, for she had heard a loud screech. A little pat and it downed to a simper. Another silence-shattering whistle and she would have lost all that she had worked on. No one would have loved to eat chholas giving an aftertaste of something bitter and burnt; brown rice was a separate issue – a must for her weight-conscious daughter. She doted on her family and cooking was her passion, but now it felt akin to a task. She used to be back to the hearth even before the last remnants of the previous meal had been cleared from the kitchen.

The aroma of boiled chholas bordering on bland wafted as she opened the lid of the cooker. In the rising steam she thought of the days when cooking was not her cup of tea, but a platter of spicy and unhealthy food with a steaming mug of coffee kept her going. At times she would even indulge herself with bottoms up with a bottle of Thumbs Up – a rare treat now owing to her health.

Such is life!

Another piercing whistle from a different cooker had her drifting back to the present. Wiping the beads of sweat from her forehead she stopped in her tracks. Something had her turning around and rummaging in the cupboards. She looked like a woman on a mission that couldn’t be put off even for a second. It seemed as if her very life depended on it. It was anybody’s clue that what had her driven her into such frenzy.

She emerged victorious clutching a box, which was all that she needed to prove her assumptions and put a rest to all the speculation.

Chopping, grinding, stirring… she was engrossed again igniting her passion.

Cooking was the albatross she loved to let loose in the wilderness of her innovations.

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