A Village Girl with Big Dreams!
Authentic Recipes from India & Roots of BasoliSauces.com
I was 11 years old when I moved to Canada from a remote village called Basoli in Northern India. Although I was born and raised in this far-flung village, I was a girl brimming with aspirations of success, aiming to achieve what other girls in my village were never afforded the chance to do. I grew up in a destitute family, residing in a small mud house with just one room.
Despite our poverty, we were thankful and content because we had a roof over our heads and a small parcel of land that provided us with enough food to live. In those days, we made our own food and beverages, and, naturally, we kept a few cows and goats for fresh milk.
I count myself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend school, as it was not encouraged for girls in my village. My circumstances were slightly different because my father was already living in Canada and he worked unceasingly to save enough money to bring us out of India, solely in pursuit of a quality education.
Growing up, life in the village was incredibly peaceful. I was surrounded by family and lived in close proximity to all of my relatives. We had the freedom to explore the farmland without any fear of getting lost. Often, I would find myself sitting in the middle of the jungle, observing animals hopping on trees, contemplating deep thoughts such as the meaning of life or imagining what life would be like in Canada.
Although I didn't receive any answers to these questions in my early years, I was profoundly moved by nature and all that it offered.
I grew up with a curious mind, unsure of exactly what I wanted, but certain that I didn't want to conform as just another girl, following societal expectations. I constantly posed unanswered questions such as, "Why am I expected to marry before I turn 20? What if I, like my future husband, also desire a career? Why aren't girls allowed to attend university?" I was often chastised and labeled as mischievous or overly talkative. I never comprehended why I wasn't permitted to wear pants like my brothers or venture out to the jungle like my brothers did. These questions haunted me.
The only person who ever understood me, or at least tried to comfort me, was my maternal grandmother. Her name was Ratan Kaur, and she was the kindest and most generous soul I have ever met. I would often lose myself in her embrace and the love she showered me with, a feeling that still resides in my heart to this day. Our conversations under the stars remain some of the most cherished memories I hold.
She would explain to me the selfless act of giving and exemplify it through her own generosity towards others. I would often observe her willingly go without food so that she could provide a meal to a hungry family who arrived at our doorstep, without giving it a second thought. When I questioned why she would choose to go hungry in order to feed a stranger, she would simply smile and say, "When you give, you receive far more in return."
It came as no surprise that one of her favorite activities was cooking for everyone. The joy that adorned her face while observing us consume the food she had meticulously prepared is permanently imprinted in my memory. No one ever left her home feeling hungry, as she was an incredibly generous host who willingly shared the food placed on her table, despite not possessing much.
Her culinary creations were crafted using organic homegrown vegetables and spices. However, the secret behind the delectable taste of her food simply lay in the immense love she infused into each dish during its preparation.
Those moments spent cooking together were the highlight of our time together. She imprinted upon me the importance of selecting the appropriate spices for each dish and elucidated the numerous benefits that her culinary creations offered to our bodies. It was an art form. I learned to appreciate every dish, regardless of whether it consisted of two or ten ingredients.
I learned about the power of prayer and sending positive energy while the food was being prepared. "That is the secret," she would whisper to me as she guided me in the cooking process.
I observed women from neighboring villages come to cook with her and learn from her. She would share some of her recipes with them, and they appreciated the kindness she showed them.
Rural Indian kitchen where all the food is made on an open fire.
Over the years, as I grew up in Canada, I have achieved my dreams of receiving a good education. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many people who bring joy into my life.
However, there has been something on my mind for quite some time - sharing the cooking and traditions I learned from my grandmother. It has been a long-standing dream of mine, and now that I have finally reached this point, I realize that this is where my true passion lies. I am incredibly grateful to be able to share this with the world. I promise that each jar of our sauces and chutneys is filled with the loving energy of my grandmother, who taught me everything I know.
As I embark on this new journey, I also want to be able to give back to the village that is dear to my heart. One dollar from each sale will be donated to my mission or charity, which aims to help girls in rural villages gain access to education. I want these girls to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and to think beyond traditional gender roles, such as becoming a housewife, which has been the norm for generations. There is nothing wrong with choosing that path, but it is important to also have the option to strive for bigger dreams.
My goal is to establish education centers for girls where they can find their voice and acquire the tools they need to achieve their dreams. This is my way of honoring my grandmother's memory and sharing her incredible recipes with the world. When you purchase from this website, you are contributing to this cause. Your support and trust in trying the delicious foods I offer are also helping a girl like myself, who doesn't have the opportunity to grow up in a country like Canada, to pursue her dreams.
I am extremely thankful for all of the blessings that life brings. I reciprocate this positive energy to all of you and express my gratitude for your kindness and generosity in having faith in a girl from a small village with BIG dreams.
I will continue to provide updates on this blog, sharing more stories about how Basoli is making a difference by supporting countless girls who are in dire need.