A 106 year old woman, with wrinkles strewn across her face, spectacle perched lowly on her nose, draped loosely in a cotton sari, she would come across as a bedridden grandma in the wildest of our imaginations. Defying our imaginative perception, Mastanamma is actually a YouTube cooking sensation.
Sneak a peek in Mastanamma’s life.
Mastanamma was married at the age of 11 and widowed at the age of 22. She was left behind with 5 children to fend for. She lived a hand to mouth existence working as a daily wage labor. Mastanamma lost 4 out of 5 children in a cholera epidemic that hit her village. In one of her videos she shares her husband’s last words. “When I asked my husband how I will live without him, he held my hand and said I was an intelligent woman. I can survive without him”.
Mastanamma lives in a thatched hut that has been her dwelling for over 90 years. She worked as a daily wage labourer and earned 200- 300 rs until last year when she turned 105. This 106 year old fiercely independent woman lives by the paddy field in a village of Andra Pradesh. While the relatives who live surrounding her house have tried to coax and cajole her into living with them, she simply refuses to be dependent on anyone. Not letting you go before you are fed, Mastanamma could be a typical grandma if you were to visit her.
Mastanamma and her YouTube debut with ‘Country Foods’.
It was her grandson who came up with an idea of starting a YouTube channel. Graphic Designer by profession, K Laxman wanted to begin with a YouTube channel that taught cooking in traditional methods. That’s when he decides to star cast his grandma on his channel- Country Foods.
Fragile as she may look, her strong hands and firm grip can turn a huge king crab into a delicacy. Her channel showcases an array of traditional as well as fusion or modern recipes. Eggplant curry, mutton biryani, fish fry, mendu vada, Emu egg preparations, village style burger, egg dosa, bread omelette, bread pizza, KFC style fried chicken, name it and she can make it. She does not cook in a modular kitchen with a chef hat on her head. Her kitchens usually have the most picture-perfect natural background of fields, mountains or even cattles. Unlike most YouTube chefs she does not use modern appliances. Rather she cooks in the most nomadic way. She has a brick stove that is fueled with firewood or dry leaves.
No recipe reaches the plates until she has tasted and approved it. Her grand daughter Manorama assists her in the cooking videos. Not only does she shares mouth watering recipes but also very interesting anecdotes from her past.
Mastanamma’s efficacy and a ready smile draws over 5 lac subscribers to her channel. Ever since her channel has stormed YouTube, people all over the world have called to congratulate her. Mastanamma is an embodiment of life in itself. Her spirit and the ability in her recipes to make a well fed person hungry again is mind boggling!
Her story makes you run to your kitchen feeling hungry, doesn’t it?
Picture Courtesy: YouTube, News Minute.