A 70-year-old woman from a village in Maharashtra has become a YouTube sensation within just a few months of posting her first video. In less than a year, Suman Dhamne’s YouTube channel ‘Aapli Aaji’, where she posts cooking videos of traditional Maharashtrian recipes, has amassed 6 lakh subscribers!
With 140 videos on the channel now, she has also been awarded the YouTube Creators Award – an award given by YouTube to its most popular channels.
Suman’s Popular Recipes Cooked With A Traditional Touch, Have Received Over A Million Views!
A grandmother to a 17-year-old boy, Suman makes popular Maharashtrian recipes, using homemade spices, in a traditional style. The idea to start a YouTube channel was her grandson’s.
‘Sometime around January, I told my grandma to cook Pav Bhaji for me. After watching a couple of recipe videos, she said she could make a better one,” her son told The Better India. The Pav Bhaji she made instead, with her own ingredients and traditional twist, was beloved by the family. This is when her grandson began musing about starting a YouTube channel for his grandmother.
What started with a few hundred views quickly grew to thousands, and now some of her videos have over a million views!
Suman was nervous and hesitant at first. She was uncomfortable in front of the camera and says she would often stammer or become scared. “I did not know what YouTube was and never thought about putting recipes on social media. But now I feel uneasy if I do not share any recipe on the channel,” she laughs.
Suman shares her recipes on YouTube in addition to her farming work on her 30-acre farm. She dedicated herself to learning the technicalities of the camera and shooting, understanding how social media works, and even pronouncing certain ingredients’ names in English.
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“Viewers also ask to make particular food items and based on the demand, I try to make some,” she says.
She has a host of dishes lined up for the festive season of Dussehra and Diwali. “I am excited to make all the items and share the recipes for viewers,” Suman says.
There Are Other Famous Indian ‘Grandmothers Of The Internet’ Like Suman
Suman isn’t the only Indian grandmother who has taken the world of YouTube by storm. Here are a couple of other women who became YouTube’s favourite grandmothers with their heart-warming cooking videos.
Mastanamma – Country Foods
Mastanamma was the world’s oldest YouTuber and oldest celebrity chef. Born in a village in Andhra Pradesh, she didn’t have a birth certificate, but believed she turned 106 in 2017.
Her Youtube channel, Country Foods, has over a million subscribers, and some of her recipes, like the “watermelon chicken”, have attained an iconic status.
She shot to fame for the unusual local dishes she would cook, and the simple, traditional way she would cook them.
The open field, wood burning fire she would light herself, the traditional Indian knife she would use, the banana leaf she would serve her food in, and the unique reginal dishes she would cook, made her stand out from other YouTube chefs.
Mastanamma’s died in 2018, but her many fans continue to share and praise her delicious recipes even today.
Savithramma – Myna Street Food
Two brothers based in another village in Andhra Pradesh started a homely-style cooking channel featuring their octogenarian grandmother, Savithramma, back in 2016.
Savithramma makes such regional delights as telagapindi prawns, goruchikkudu, and other “grandma’s style” dishes. She uses only firewood, mud pots, and traditional cutlery – even when foraying into foods like “black forest cake” and “oreo ice cream”!
The toothless, ever-smiling grandmother won over people’s hearts and went viral so quickly, that they had to recruit a roster of other grandmas from the village to keep up with the demand for videos and recipes.
Today, the channel has 1.3 million subscribers.
Women have long been the keepers of food systems and traditions, without ever receiving the due acknowledgement. It’s heartening to see these Internet grandmothers’ skills and labour receive due recognition and appreciation from the people of the world. Their success stories may be few among the sea of women whose labour goes unrecognised and unpaid, but it’s inspirational and heart-warming nonetheless.
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