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The Screaming Pressure Cooker

Ever used a pressure cooker before? In an Indian household (regardless of the location I think) one of the common sounds indicating the hustle and bustle of the morning action are the whistles of the pressure cooker, preparing food for the day. And sometimes as a kid I used to get the job of standing by to ensure that I switch off the stove just after the right number of whistles. I just couldn’t figure out how many whistles indicated the perfect cooking texture of the food inside. The pressure cooker was the resident giant in front of all other utensils 🙂


“…it would need the right amount of water and just the right quantity (depending upon the capacity of the cooker) of food items to be placed inside…”, I remember my grandmother say trying to respond to my confused face.

And the one we had at home (I thought) had absolutely no predictability. After it got a bit old (“and wise”) it started letting out some indicative steam to state that the big whistle is coming up and even then without warning came the big whistle that used to make me jump in place (I must confess this happens even now much to the amusement of my family). What’s more interesting is the tiny little guy (weight) sitting on the top of the lid and managing the “letting go of steam” process.

If only there was intelligence and voice given to these workhorses of the kitchen cooking away hard items (the Indian vegetarians would know that pulses are quite hard to cook otherwise) to glory. And by nature the cooker doesn’t speak, it SCREAMS!!!

Preparation phase:
“I can take more, some more items, MOOOOORE…..Ok stoooppp!”

“Waaaaater! more more more!….Stopppp, are you mad, you want me to smash your food to a pulp!!!!???”

Cooking time:
“Heeeaaat! more heat! do you want me to sit around all day, where are ya…increase heaat!”
“♫ ♬♫ …hey good lookin, you want to know what’s cookin…♫ ♬♫…”

Almost done:
“…release some steam will ya pete (the weight)…get up lazy guy…steam coming your way….”
“…here I let go of some steeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaam…..”

Closing ceremony:
“And the second time….whooooooooooosh”
“Where are ya boy, its burning inside, GET ME OFF, GET ME OFF!”
“Whooooooooooooooooosh………….got no more steam left inside….GET ME off NOWWW!…”

And then there are pressure cookers all around these days in real life, cooking away things inside of them, some giving indications to the environment, and some don’t 🙁 –

“need more encouragement, can I do this…err…water…”
“need more motivation/drive…err…heat…”
“don’t push me too much…err…too much heat…”
“help me let go of the steam pete (the weight!)…err…support…”
“get me off…get me off…err…need to cool down and refocus…”

Although not so much in an animated manner, but these indications help 🙂 and coming out from an agile leadership training (more on it coming up in the next posts 😉 ) an essential aspect of working in a self organized teams and helping each other is openly telling & asking each other – “♫ ♬♫hey good lookin’! tell me what’s cookin…♫ ♬♫”

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15 Comments on “The Screaming Pressure Cooker

  1. Reading this post one way of passing of Steam on a weekend where the passed by week is full of loading and overloading Pressure…Nice One

  2. Great article !! It made me remember the quote by Dr. Leman
    “Life is a pressure cooker and whether you remain serene or become stressed-out depends on how you handle that pressure”

  3. You are right Phani. There is always something cooking. Infact many things at the same time!

    Great writing as usual.

  4. Smile in my eyes as just see same thing with my daughter.She count wishtle and run to tell me and confirms if she can close gas.
    And in real life we run between circumstances to find real happiness and motivation.

  5. Good one and me too waited for a whistle in front of the cooker and we all men know what a relief once we see that tiny little guy and ofcourse as praveen said you deserve one whistle from each one of us 🙂

  6. Hahaha. What an analogy. Very true, nonetheless.

  7. I walked down the memory lane reading this..!! I also remember some cookers exploding (so to say bowing the lid off along with the food inside) and I do see many (including me) “exploding” when it gets too much at work..:-)))!!!

    BTW, even now I see my dad/my husband very patiently waiting near the stove for the coveted 3 whistles and they “religiously” put off the flame as soon as the 3rd whistle is done..!! I always feel amused looking at the sense of relief on their faces once they put off the flame..!!!

  8. One Whistle Podu 😊, yes, this write up deserve a screaming Whistle (by human).

  9. Nice analogy and a wonderful play with words. As always, relevant to our everyday (working)life.

  10. Wat a write up ! You know how to get the interest of the reader and then very lucidly making your point by corelating it with the real morale..
    It also reminded me of my 2 yr old daughter whom I see running around when the whistle blows 🙂

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