It is that time of the year, the December season of music and dance that kick starts in all the sabhas throughout Chennai. It is also that time of the year when me and dad are left alone (à la Tom Hanks in Castaway) to our own devices to prepare dinner. Not fair, yeah I know!Here we were, poor 22-something and 48-something, staring at the kitchen as though it was a math paper (in my case) and my report card (in dad’s case). While mom, well she invariably has the time of her life, kutcheri-hopping with her “van” friends and long-lost relatives who suddenly show up at the same Sudha Raghunathan concert and embrace filmi ishtyle. Let me make one thing clear at this juncture. I have nothing against classical music and am extremely proud of my culture, all this sarcasm stems from the fact that I cannot sing to save Abhishek Bachchan’s life! Do you know how that feels? Especially in marriages where if (1) You are a girl aged 5–23.6 years (2) You look lost and (3) You have a mom who is an awesome singer, you are invariably bullied into singing? In retrospect, I did hog my share of limelight and thayir vadais at weddings when I was small (read 3.4–5.2 years). I knew exactly one song with questionably improvised lyrics. And so there was never a dull moment at weddings in which I was the self-appointed unofficial music guest, straining my lungs to glory. Well, those were the days… Anyway, back to December season cooking, after our few innovative experiments (my favorite one involved chappathis sticking to the ceiling), Mom wisely decided to trust Nissin and Maggi and so me and Dad’s “fabulous cooking in 15 minutes” (yes, we had a name) was reduced to just boiling water and putting in the noodles. That put an end to our experiments but hey, we are still working on the patent application of our special noodles masala (wink wink)! Ah, but people never did appreciate geniuses in their hey day, did they?!