At 70 She Started Her Recipe Channel And Changed The Way We Look At Cooking

Posted: December 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

On the last day of this difficult year I wanted to focus on a positive story. Saswati Mukherjee is an inspiration. Not only because at 70 she started her YouTube channel Ruchi Bodol where she shares her recipes, but she is a lady who could rise like the Phoenix and turn her grief into a creative endeavour.

Families who have lost a loved one to cancer will know how hard it is to see someone suffering from so much pain. Saswati Mukherjee went through all the travails of caring for a cancer patient. But when she lost her husband to cancer she didn’t allow grief to take over her life and wallow in self-pity.

Instead she started learning a new medium, taking videos of her recipes and launched her YouTube Channel. Her channel has been a source of new ideas to many people couped up at home in the pandemic this year.

It gives me great happiness to share Saswati Mukherjee’s interview on my blog and end this year on a positive note. Her words are so inspiring, her journey so wonderful.  

  • Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born in a conservative Hooghly family, I somehow grew up to be the rebel among six siblings. I had what they call an untamed soul — I climbed trees, ran track and dared boys to beat me in swimming. As a teen, I wanted to be a gymnast and began taking lessons behind my mother’s back. All was well till I broke my nose during a particularly difficult vault and my mother came to know. Oh, furious she was! As my sporty dream took a tumble, I steered all my energy into studying to become a teacher. Then, love happened. I married the most amazing man there was. And although I finished my BEd in Calcutta and received job offers, I decided to raise a family with this man instead of pursuing a career. At 70 today, I look back in joy and pride; no regrets at all.

  • How did cooking become your passion?

To be honest, cooking was never really a passion. In fact, when at 22 I tied the knot with my childhood sweetheart, I didn’t know how to make dim bhaja (that is what my husband liked to call an omelette).

But, I decided to learn the ropes after an attempt at bhindi paratha (a recipe he borrowed from a Gujarati family during a work trip to Ahmedabad) which turned into a slimy kitchen disaster.

– Saswati Mukherjee

An  aunt who was an excellent cook took me under her wing and I have never had to look back since.

  • Did the pandemic prompt you to start your YouTube channel on cooking?

No, a personal tragedy did. I lost my soulmate to cancer earlier this year and was on the verge of depression when our daughter came up with the idea. She suggested I rustle up recipes that her father made or loved, but for viewers on YouTube. Given the number of winters I have seen, I am understandably not tech-savvy and was reluctant at first. She convinced me that she would take care of filming/editing. While I miss my husband every waking minute, I must admit cooking for our channel #RuchiBodol is the best therapy I could ask for. It helps me connect with him at a whole new level.

  • How do you experiment with your recipes?

Besides our shared love for sports (both of us ran track), my husband and I were travel enthusiasts. Exploring new places almost always meant trying out local food.

On our trips across India, Asia, Europe and Latin America, we not just savoured local delicacies, but brought home recipes of sauces and table condiments, which I currently mix ‘n’ match to make fusion food. My daughter too comes up with ideas to keep me going.

  • What makes you the happiest when you are shooting for your channel?

The thought that he’s smiling at me from the happy isles. He loved my style of cooking and would have been thrilled to see me pursue it for an audience.

– Saswati Mukherjee
  • At your age not many people can start something new like this…how hard or how easy has it been for you?

It has been anything but easy. Not just because of age, but for what we’ve been through and are still going through. My husband survived a brain stem stroke in 2013 and I was his primary caregiver until he was detected with squamous cell carcinoma in November 2019. Lost him this January. Can anything be harder than losing your partner of nearly 50 years? But, I must admit that my family — my doting son-in-law in particular — has been my rock.

  • Would you say that you have turned the difficult times in your favour?

I would, wouldn’t you? We, as a family, have found the best possible way to cope with a tragedy. My personal irreparable loss dwarfs the pandemic for me.

  • Your recipes are very experimental and international, has your cooking always been like this?

Like I mentioned before, my recipes are rooted in our travels. Hence, the international flavour. The main objective is to prepare something offbeat and delicious — just the way my husband liked it.

  • What is the greatest satisfaction of having your own recipe channel?

My daughter says every new subscriber, every thumbs up, every comment brings a smile on my face. She is not wrong. Being acknowledged for these recipes, which for me are trips down the memory lane, does bring a sense of accomplishment. And, I can feel him putting his hands together for me.

  • Do you have any favourite YouTubers you look up to?

Well, I have always loved watching cooking shows on television. Nowadays, I follow the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Rachael Ray, Sanjeev Kapoor, Varun Inamdar and Ranveer Brar on YouTube.

  • You are an inspiration for the next generation. What is your message to them?

Dale Carnegie, whom my husband often quoted, once wrote “the most important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”. If I can be a YouTuber in my seventies, nothing should stop GeNext from following their dreams. Remember, you are always stronger than you think. 

If you liked this beautiful interview from an inspiring lady go ahead and subscribe to her channel Ruchi Bodol. It’s a great way to start the year, isn’t it?

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