Why did I start teaching cooking ?
Born to a culinary legend and being his fifth child, I always held a very special place in my father's heart. He always called me his lucky charm and said the day I was about to be born someone offered him an opportunity to cater for a South Indian wedding. He used to say that after having had three sons he always wanted a daughter. He used to frequent this very small temple in New Delhi which was of Pandurang (Krishna) and his wife Rakumabai (Radha), he wished that if he is blessed with a daughter then he would name her Rakhumabai. As he wished I was born, being the 5th child that too a daughter would mean the parents would have done something significantly good in their past life. I was born on a Sunday and based on all calculations I was name Rakumabai and Banu (means Sun).
I lead a very carefree, flamboyant and fearless life. I had three brothers who would dot me and a sister who was my mother in every way. Merely someone will try to bully me in school and my elder brother would put them right.
Life was awesome, he let me marry a man that I wanted to in spite of caste difference because all he wanted was my happiness. Supported me in every way raised my two children and he was my pillar of strength in life. I was leading an accomplished life when I lost him to an unexpected circumstance in 2001.
The grief drove me away from my birth country and New Zealand opened its door saying come start your life again. I migrated as a Permanent Resident in 2003 along with my husband, 11 years old daughter Gauri and 7-year-old Son Raghav.
Life panned out to be easy got a job that I loved; children were growing up however my health was deteriorating each day. Visited a naturopath who suggested I see a psychic as I need closure. Believing everything happens for a reason visited the psychic in September 2014 connected with my father and parted with his last words "I smell the amazing food you cook; I want you to start teaching cooking"
My work life was consuming me and one day an incident with my Manager left me very distraught. I decided that I will head back to India as nothing was working out as my health was steadily slipping away.
As though I need to be jolted my daughter suggested that I make a post on FB and seek ideas of how I could teach? As though it was meant to be with in 20 minutes of the post 40 odd people replied, they wrote my business plan suggesting I do this from my own home and that there should be no further delays.
21 September 2014 was my first class and having crossed over 7000 students this is still something very dear to me. As they say when you teach you learn - I learnt a lot as to how to make my class better each time, sought feedback consistently and implemented suggestions which enhanced the cooking class experience.
All the above might sound relatively straight forward right? but wait ........
I always use to ask my father as to how is it that he cooked for thousands of people and there was not one incident of hospitalization or food poisioning. He narrated this incident in his life he said when he was a small boy he was suffering from small pox (in India small pox is considered as the time when goddess is visiting you to make you stronger) his mother had taken him to the temple near by as he fell asleep she left him to sleep. He was shivering with fever and sweat he was woken by a beautiful goddess with a spoon in her hand asking him to wake up. He got scared and cried and his mother consoled him and brought him back home. That was the temple of goddess of food "Annapoorni" he said he was blessed by goddess herself hence why he was always blessed by her.
Now what does that story has to do with me right? but wait .......
The day I had a rough run with my Manager I came home crying profusely that is when my daughter Gauri reminded me of my Father's words during the psychic reading and asked me to write the post.
In Indian culture we name children based on Sun, Moon and Star alignment, day, date and time of the birth and the mother and father born to - based on all those calculations alphabets are given to name the child. We were given G and S so we name our daughter Gauri - means Goddess of Food Annapoorni!!
Now this you may see as something extraordinary and indeed it is - if not for her reminding me of my purpose I don't know what would have happened to me. I had my rebirth on 21 September 2022 and my daughter is my mother and Annapoorni that I am blessed with.
Finding closure is important for one to move on and finding a purpose to lead a life is equally important. I am blessed that I have found both and doing each day something to keep my dearest Father SK Ramachandran's vision alive.