India is a land of colours, festivals, rich culture, varied heritage and lots of traditional food. If there is one thing that binds us all together, then it is food. From Northern flavours of saffron (Kashmir) to the southern spices (Kerala). From the western plate of savoury (Rajasthan) to the eastern sweets (West Bengal). From coastal snacks (Maharashtra) to lavish royal food (Uttar Pradesh) we have it all. but nothing suffices the appetite more than the subtle, simple home-made food, the Mom-made food.
We have all come across food videos on various platforms and always felt an inkling to try the food but many times the difficult recipes and unavailability of certain ingredients put us off. Or sometimes we come across so many recipes for the same dish that it is hard to pick the best one. But what if you could just take bits and pieces out of a lot of recipes culminating into an even tastier dish? Well, that’s exactly how Aapli Aaji aka Suman Dhamne’s journey started.
Suman Dhamne, a 70-year-old Maharashtrian woman has been gaining immense popularity ever since her grandson Yash started a YouTube channel “Aapli Aaji” to give her a forum to cook, share and teach various recipes. The channel now has around 4,000 subscribers and millions of views each day. Suman Dhamne has also received YouTube creator’s award.
This journey started off one fine day when Yash asked his grandmother to prepare Pav Bhaji for him. He showed her various videos on YouTube but she felt some or the other thing was missing in all the videos. But she couldn’t put a finger on it. So to give her grandson the most delightful experience, she combined all the recipes and presented him with a dish that left him licking his fingers.
Yash had no idea what she added to the dish but it was way better than what it looked in the video. This is when it struck him to come up with a YouTube channel for his grandmother.
Aapli Aaji was a little shy facing the camera in the beginning, she even faced difficulties pronouncing English words. But with practice, things have fallen into place and the channel has taken off successfully.
This bitter gourd recipe is the most popular video on her channel that goes by the name Aapli Aaaji.
Despite the channel being in Marathi, the desi style of cooking and the Indian-ness of the ingredients has resonated well with the audience.
There came many challenges their way, from technical glitches because of Yash’s lack of editing skills, to their channel being hacked. They overcame it all.
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Aapli Aaji is now winning hearts of desi people with her tasty dishes and is now even endeavouring into commercial business by starting to sell her own spices.
Stories like that of Suman Dhamne touch our hearts and inspire us to explore our potential. For a 70-year-old she is brimming with passion and we can all take a tip or two from her. It is also necessary for all of us to encourage such gems around us. we never know, who might click where.
For more inspiring stories, check out our inspiring section.