Surely, it could manage for a week without mom. But of course it wouldn't be happy about it. Dad and I were to take her position for the time being. We were to be employed as home-makers temporarily. Salary? Three square meals everyday, that is, if we do it right. It was only a matter of one week after all, how hard could it be? So here we go..
Dad and I enter the kitchen, all geared up to make the dish of the day. While dad got the tea ready, I opened the fridge to get all the stuff we might need. Well, there was *everything* that we needed. As in, mom'd prepared food for a day to ease our work. We were relieved, but also secretly disappointed to have nothing to cook for the day. But the kitchen was happy. So were we.
Dad and I are feeling responsible. Today, we are going to cook! As I scrounge the kitchen for our requirements, dad becomes acutely mad for not finding anything he wants. Unfortunately, the kitchen sensed the heated mood and got irritated. It ended up hiding all that we needed in easily-unnoticed corners. After an exhausting preparation of a few hopefully-edible idlis, we still hadn't made the curry we planned to. If we were to start making that, we'd end up having breakfast at lunch time. Luckily, there was still some left from what mom made, and we adjusted with it for the day.
We start early, with one day's experience of work. We'd finished up all the curry by now. So it was going to be a dad 'n' me special sambhar. He asked me to get all the vegetables we had. I did. There were so many that we couldn't choose. So naturally, dad cut out all the veggies available and we had a tough time finding a vessel big enough to fit them all. With a great deal of excitement we made our epic sambhar, just the way we expected. Content with the accomplishment of making enough sambhar for the neighborhood, every other dish looked petty. So I shall not be mentioning it here. The Kitchen was content too, though exhausted just the way were.
The kitchen badly needed a bath. It wasn't particularly fond of the change in livelihood in the past three days. Dad and I were cross at it more often, and it only made things worse for us. Atleast we were glad the sambhar was in plenty. We didn't have to make more curry for a while. I gave the kitchen a nice clean up. Hopefully it would be better tempered now. It was definitely missing mom a lot. All we did was mix things in wrong proportions, make food either too much or too less, and leave a huge heap of left-over wastes around. But I guess we were getting a hang of it. 3 days to go.
Whoops. Poor kitchen is running out of supplies. Dad and I went shopping. In any case, we had to keep the kitchen in good terms with us. The refrigerator, the plastic containers, cupboards, everything was empty. Except the dustbin though. Surprisingly, the sambhar had gotten over. Apparently, we consumed it too lavishly, overestimating its quantity. We managed to make a fish curry in just about the right quantity. The kitchen was reloaded. Clean and complete. We'd done our dishes well. Ahha. Who said the kitchen was a tough nut to crack?! It was a piece of cake for us!
The smoothest day so far. That's right, we rocked the kitchen. I bet it loved us. Dad and I didn't complain anymore. We'd replaced the kitchen stuff our way. It wasn't confusing now either. We'd nailed it! Trust us, cooking had actually become fun, though time-consuming. It wasn't a full-time job anyway. We did have a few hours of break after each meal. Since we were only beginners, many petty jobs in the household were waived. There is no teaching aid to prepare us to handle a home after all, the only means of learning being experience. Mom is so far ahead in the field that we couldn't possibly see her. But at least today we got the knack of it. The kitchen was happy, so were we.
Dad and I feel very important. One more day and we would succeed in our week-long kitchen management task. You have to admit that our accomplishment isn't trivial! Everything was in place, we knew what to do , and we had one smooth day's experience. This day was surely going to be better.
Surprise! The veteran home-maker is back a day early. It seemed that she missed the kitchen too much to have stayed away any longer. We could have easily managed another day. But yes, we were relieved.
Mom is quick to adjust back with the kitchen. It seems overjoyed, and more homely. It wasn't as neat and organized as we'd kept it. But it seemed to like the slightly messy way mom liked to keep it. What we took hours to do she did with a flick of her finger. What we couldn't find in the kitchen, mom saw with her third eye. What not another soul could do, mom could make home feel home.
And so we now know the tedious task of handling a kitchen. Here's our salute to all moms for their perseverance, patience and peace-keeping, which most of us often fail to appreciate. Spend a week with the kitchen and you'll know it.