It must have all started sometime around 1991, I think. My cousin and I wanted to bake a lemon sponge cake. I still wonder what possessed my grandmother to allow a 6 and a 13 year old into the kitchen to bake! A messy kitchen, burnt pans, lots of spilt flour and 4 hours later, we had on our hands a cake; the base of which was a nice thick yellow rubber like consistency and the top was as hard as stone. One of our cousins happened to drop in at that unfortunate time, and we generously offered him a nice thick slice, our watchful eyes taking in every painful bite he took waiting for compliments. I think we did manage to get one before he decided he would finish it 'later'.
Fast forward 8 years and I experimented with brownies and chocolate sauce. It came out pretty good, and was gone within minutes of taking them out of the oven. I spread a thick layer of chocolate sauce on the brownie cake before cutting it up for that extra gooeyness that the brother and the rest of the family loved. That was when I experienced the first joys of watching people enjoy what I make. Another batch of brownies was whipped up and sent to my aunts place, and since then I've officially become the family 'baker'(for want of a better word).
In the year 2000, my recipe book was born. It started out only for desserts, where I would diligently note down recipes when I would come across them in a book, or from friends and family. When I was in the 11th grade, during an english exam we had a section of process writing where we had to list the process of making tea or something. I decided to talk about my brownie recipe instead. My teacher was quite amused and asked me if it was a real recipe with correct measurements and not something I made up. I said yes, she tried them and they came out pretty fab. She also brought her book to school the next day and shared her chocolate chip cookie recipe that is so good, I use it even today! I experimented with lots of other kinds of desserts as well - fudge, lemon tarts, cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, and a whole bunch of stuff. I graduated to making lasagna and dinner type food after that.
Also, my dad has been a pretty big influence on that side of me. He loves to experiment in the kitchen and many hours were spent hanging around him and chatting while he made pasta and vegetables in white sauce, baked lemon fish, and of course the world's best biryani, among other things! That kind of got me started on cooking from baking.
So what IS it that excites me about cooking? It's the creativity of being able to come up with something new. And being a foodie, I love trying new cuisines and dishes.