His favourite place is by my side. Peeping over my shoulders, peering from a gap betwixt my arms.
What do I add now?
Amma, Amma, Amma…
Questions and queries are fired at me.
Yes. He is my little helper!
The kitchen is where he likes to be… with me. Giving me a helping hand whether I want it or not! He pulls up a stool and places it right where I need to stand near the stove!
“Can we place this to the left a bit?” I ask politely.
“Ammmmma…I can’t see then” he whines.
I roll my eyes in exasperation, as I try to move the furniture to a spot mutually agreeable by us!
Then the instructions start.
You have to tell me what you want. I will bring it for you is his reasonable request. Which I promptly forget as I reach out for this or that. Not that my kitchen is so large I can’t just put my hand out or up, and get it for myself. But I must heed the little boss.
Cut up with me, he upbraids me.
“I want to get it for you, I want to get it for you” he repeats his litany.
“Ok, Ok, get me the turmeric” I say.
“What’s that?” he asks
“The yellow powder, manjal”, I explain. And wait tapping my right slippered foot in impatience!
So now he clambers from the stool onto the narrow counter and reaches for the neatly lined containers trying to identify the turmeric. I watch with trepidation as this is too close to the stove for me to relax.
“This is red” he says.
“Careful, that’s chili powder” I say, and he jumps back as if I have just told him it is a live snake! It’s quite funny to watch him quickly pass his hands onto the next!
“This is a funny colour Amma, but it smells nice”.
“That’s Jeera powder”.
“What’s Jeera?” is his next question.
So jeera seeds (cumin) have to be produced now, and he runs his hands through them. Examining and noting!
"This says r...a...s...a...m", as he reads the label on the next container.
"Rasam powder K"
"Achoo, Achoo", he follows up with two sneezes as the rasam powder wiggles its way up his nose!
Every container needs to be inspected and questioned. And to his delight there are so many available there for research!
So you ask me did I get that turmeric off the shelf, and did I get my cooking done?
Oh yes! But it takes a while, double time, every time!
I try to be patient, not watch the clock and not shoo him away. But at times I have to and he goes with a disappointed look and an offended tone.
I can’t but help smile at his retreating back, and promise myself, next time. Next time I will let him hang on a few more minutes is what I tell myself. Yet I know its quite a task (multi task!) to do my cooking while he quenches his curiosity.
My little helper.