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Food has always been a part of me, in all ages and at all stages of my life. I have been told that my first love was the ‘tawa’, which I crawled towards and almost sat on, driven as I was by the irresistible aroma of parathas being cooked in ghee!

This love affair continued as I enthralled my parents and their curious guests with amoeba-shaped rotis as a chubby 4 year old – of course, under the eagle-eye supervision of Dadi Ma, our cuddly, toothless, pristine-white sari clad cook. Her encouragement and unlimited patience helped a little girl’s imagination conjure up a busy, noisy, steamy kitchen brewing delicious recipes and serving hundreds of guests with little toy plates and serving dishes. My pride was of course the 2-inch high bright-red gas cylinder with cooktop that adorned my window-sill kitchen, still preserved in mint condition!