There is no food like home-cooked food.
Even the greatest chef’s in the world will tell you there’s nothing better than the food cooked by a mother. Food is about identity, our roots and, most importantly, about our mother’s cooking.
At 56, from Jodhpur, Vijay Haldiya is sharing her love for cooking and home-cooked food with the world with the help of technology. She has not let anything stand in the way of her success, be it age or technology.
Last August, Vijay, while visiting her daughter in the US, realised that her daughter’s friends, and other such young Indian families living away from home, in a foreign land, banked heavily on recipes available online. The same holds true for young nuclear families in India, as well.
Realising her interest in the subject, her daughter suggested Vijay should use her expertise on food to create an online platform to make her recipes available to many Indians abroad and away from home. And so was born: Zayka Ka Tadka.
According to Vijay, the recipes are good and easy to prepare, and the ingredients are readily available at home. That is what primarily sets Zayka ka Tadka apart from other food blogs. She also prepares the recipe herself, and shares it only if it meets her standards. She takes her own photographs, and notes down the exact quantities of ingredients and recipes. Lastly, to Vijay, making food is about “Waste not!” Recipes she concocts from leftovers are a big hit with her followers. “I try to come up with recipes which can be made from leftover items, that it is tasty and ensures there is no wastage of food.”
Her mantra is -at least one recipe a day. She adds, “There were times when the response to my recipes was not visible, but I always follow that we should always focus on our work and not results. If efforts are made in the right directions, results always follow. Last but not the least, I always try to put my best efforts and believe that fortune favours the brave.”
Food has always been an integral part of Vijay’s life. Growing up in a joint family, she discovered her love for cooking early on while helping her mother in the kitchen. “One can say that my mother has been my inspiration and role model in cooking. From her I have learnt a lot. I owe whatever I have learnt today only to her.” Her love for cooking was more than a hobby, so, to further this interest, she went ahead and did a Bachelor of Arts in Home Science.
Since her family has been in the business of trading and manufacturing spices since the last 75 years, Vijay knows how raw spices are converted to finished products. “For me it was this background that helped me develop the understanding of taste, which can be added to the food with the intelligent use of spices.”
Vijay’s spin on life and her venture are quiet refreshing. It is, perhaps, because she has the maturity of age and experience with her. Talking about starting at her age she says, “It was encouraging from the start, but I must say that the results take time to emerge. I always believe that even if people react negatively to your actions, it’s not that they have bad intentions. It’s just that they have always seen the world with limitations, so they project the same to you also. It’s up to you to listen to your heart or to someone else’s heart.”
She has had her own share of detractors, but she believes that they’re the best way of knowing others are noticing your work, and you’re on the right path.
One of her biggest challenges was the demand for recipes she received when she asked her readers about the ones they would want her to prepare. The list was long. To ensure she met the demand, she was forced to prepare nearly four dishes in a day. It kept her on her toes; it was a challenge. She says, “I thoroughly enjoyed.”
Even though she has hired help, when it comes to the recipes for Zayka ka Tadka, Vijay prefers doing it all on her own, from chopping, cooking to clicking the pictures of her dishes. Her husband, who has now retired, helps out with the tech support.
Our mothers’ generation did not have the luxury of technology. The possibilities of what this generation of women can still do with technology is limitless. Vijay took some time, and with the family support, she has been able to leverage technology to her advantage.
It’s good to change with time, and that’s the change I have made. We all have to make the changes, especially the women from our generation. For women, technology is a gift, which has come at just the right time. The women in India are coming out of their home, but they are equally caring and thoughtful about their duties at home. They try to maintain balance between work ethics and home duties, not because they have to in today’s world, but because they want to. Technology gives them the cutting edge. They always had new ideas, but lacked the implementation. With the help of today’s technology, they have found a way to implement their ideas. It’s a big advantage. Somewhere, at the back of the mind, I do feel we would also have been able to move ahead in life if this boon would have come earlier, but better late than never.
She says she would have had regrets if she had not done what she is doing today. The support and positive feedback she receives daily keeps her motivated. But she says what is most precious is the negative response. It motivates her to amend, self-introspect, figure her errors out and take corrective action to ensure there is no repetition of the same.
This is just the beginning for Vijay- a sample of things to come from her in the future. She says,
“Very soon, we will be launching our own website, too. Having started, we are also exploring multiple other options like opening a restaurant, launching a mobile app for food lovers, creating small e-books on how to cook good food at home with ease. It’s said that something should be left to destiny as you have to work hard, and life will take its own turn and turn for good. So from my side, I am working hard on the road to fulfil my passion, and focus on one step at a time.”