” I was born in a family of 7 members and we didn’t have good financial condition. Since my childhood days, I was not much interested in studies. To run from the same, I always used to help my mother in the kitchen. I was an average student and completed my schooling from my home town in Uttarakhand. For the people of Uttrakhand, Army and Engineering has always been their priority. Because of knock knees and physical health issues, I could not make it to the Army. I went to Lucknow to visit my sister and brother-in-law. My brother-in-law was posted there, he is also an Army Official.
I started living with them and joined the institute for AIEEE. As I was not interested in studies, therefore after 3 to 4 months I gathered the courage and informed my father of the same. I said “Daddy, I won’t be able to do this. My interest lies in something else. Also, I don’t want to burden myself for the rest of my life”. My parents understood me and asked me what I wanted to do in life.
One of my best friends was studying Animation from Mumbai. I called him up and told him everything. I asked him what should I do in life and whether Animation has lots of academic demands or not. He said that the academic portion is not as demanding as Engineering is. You only need to be an artist and have an artistic approach which holds a lot of creativity. Family pressure was alarming and they were continuously asking what have I decided for my future. While In my mind, the conversation that I had with my friend was going on, so it slipped out of my mouth that I want to go to Mumbai and pursue a degree in Animation. My parents agreed and in 2013 I shifted to Mumbai.
I had no experience of cooking because I had never cooked. I had just seen it or have helped my mother with chopping or what she told me to do. And it became difficult in Mumbai. In the starting I had money, so I survived on restaurant food or street food. In the following month, I went for tiffin service but the food quality was not good. The money I and my friend received from home for rent and all the other expenses somewhere went less. So I talked to my friend and we decided to join a part-time job as our college wasn’t much tiring.
I joined a call center and he joined an Animation related job. Now things became more difficult. We used to come back home tired and had to look for food. I still remember when I got my first salary from the call center. And I had bought chicken and all the ingredients to the flat and had said that “I will cook today”. I did not know how to cook. I heated the oil and poured everything in it and that turned out to be very bad. That time I was not even aware of the fact that if I put curd directly into that much-heated oil, it will curdle. Then I decided I will learn how to cook. I opened YouTube and found one channel by the name Get Curried. I started watching his videos and found it very good. Chef Varun Inamdar used to teach on that channel. I was influenced by him and started following him.
Now my routine started changing. I used to wake up early and along with breakfast, I now also made tiffin for the office. My colleagues started giving me compliments, they said that ‘you make such a good food why don’t you become a chef’. Initially, I took this lightly but during my graduation, I approximately switched to 5-6 part-time jobs. Wherever I went, my colleagues said the same thing, ‘You should be a Chef.’ Gradually I realized that I’d started waiting for weekends more than weekdays. So that I could learn some new dishes and prepare them. Then I understood I have become more interested in cooking and want to take it forward. But I was scared how to reveal this at my home.
I gathered the courage and spilled the beans. My family only said one thing to me, ‘You are 25 already. Do what you want to do. We won’t say no. But remember this would be your last chance. We won’t say no even after this but your age will! So you decide finally which profession you want to choose’. I became very happy that my family is still supporting me in my decisions. I opened my laptop and searched for the topmost colleges of India.
IHM Dadar and IHM Pusa were the 2 colleges that came up. But they did not admit candidates 23 years or above. I went for the second option and searched for Asia’s topmost Hotels and Resorts. They all were in Rajasthan. I made up my mind and planned to go to Udaipur and join a college for the Diploma course. I wanted to do industrial training with Asia’s topmost Hotels. I started living with my childhood best friend there. One year got completed and companies started hiring in my college. I got selected in Asia’s top Resort ‘The Oberoi Udaivilas‘ for the industrial training of 6 months. We were happy, my reason for coming all the way to Udaipur was now successful. I started my training and got to learn many things.
I even attended main events like ‘Ambani’s daughter’s pre-wedding ceremony‘ and many more. My training was completed in 2018. Then I got a call from the hotel saying that maybe after some time I could get a call for an interview. I should be prepared for the trial test. Meanwhile, during my training, I cooked in various sections of the kitchen like Indian, Chinese, Bakery, and Continental. The Continental section was new for me. There is a Continental based institute, Ishtha Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Khatima where I came from. I took admission there. All my faculty were Pahadi and had worked abroad. They used to relate dishes from outside India with our Pahadi cuisines and teach us the combinations. Things started clicking me and I understood what they were teaching. I started researching on our Pahadi cuisines. My practice for Continental was about to end in April, 2020 but due to this pandemic, it got delayed. Till January, we were almost done with the course and our revision had started. I used to upload recipes and photos of what I cooked on my Instagram handle.
I thought I should do blogging as my course was almost on the edge of getting completed. Also I had knowledge about cuisines. So I started my page on Instagram with the name ‘Pahadi Bawarchi‘. I was from an Animation background so I knew about logo designing, blogging, and photography. I had already decided the name for the page and started my journey. My mother got lungs infection due to Pneumonia. From mid-March to mid-April me and my father stayed in the hospital with my mother.
In April I made one of the most liked delicacies of Uttrakhand ‘Bhatt Ki Churdkhani’ and posted it’s plating on my Instagram page. One of the most renowned blogs of our state euttaranchal reposted my post. That was a turning point for my page. In the beginning, only those people followed me who knew me but after the repost, overnight 200-300 people started following my page. I still remember that day very clearly I stood awake till 3 in that night. I was just refreshing the page of euttaranchal and with every refresh, likes were increasing. I was reading all the comments on their post and was very happy.
Learning and teaching go hand in hand. I started getting DMs from people saying they feel happy about seeing Pahadi cuisines on my page. They appreciated my work. This is no more an Instagram page for me. This has become my brand now. This page has helped me bring lots of changes in me. People were getting influenced by my work. Now I have to be cautious about what I do. So that people do not get influenced in the wrong way.
Life has to offer you many things and it is not necessary you get that in the first time. One should never stop learning new things. If you do not know anything or if you are not good at something today, that does not mean you won’t be good at it even after a few years. Nothing is permanent. You can always change things and once you know something, go out and teach it to everyone. Inspiration is always around, you look for it and you will get it.
Maybe you will take time to realize what your actual passion is. But once you know it, go for it, influence other people to follow their interest. Do not disrespect anyone in life and life will not disrespect you. Life has a fixed aim for everyone and gives a call to everyone, telling them about their aim. Wait patiently for your call. When it’s finally there, go ahead and embrace it.”
*The views expressed in the above article are of the writer and not the Winged Club.