Suman Dhamne, a 70-year-old lady from rural Maharashtra became a YouTube sensation overnight, all thanks to her recipes. She neither had a proper education nor had an idea about how online videos work but still her YouTube channel ‘Aapli Aaji’ (Our grandmother) managed to garner over six lakh subscribers in just six months.
The millennial help
It all started in January, when her 17-year-old grandson Yash Pathak asked her to make some Pav Bhaji and was amazed to see how well it was made.
In an interview with The Better India Yash said, “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. I don’t know what she changed from the recipe videos, but the food was loved in the family. That is when the idea struck me to come up with a channel.”
The first video which the grandson-grandma duo uploaded on YouTube was a bitter gourd recipe. “It started getting viewers. Eventually, we uploaded recipes of groundnut chutney, green vegetables, Maharashtrian sweet dishes, eggplant and other traditional food recipes,” he added.
A journey full of ups and downs
Suman Dhamne recalls how she was too nervous to face the camera when her grandson proposed the idea of posting recipe videos. “I was very excited about the idea when Yash proposed the idea to me. But I never faced a video camera in my life and used to get very uncomfortable initially. I used to be very conscious about my looks, the movements and if everything is going as planned,” Suman said.
From giving his grandma tech support and editing the videos, to making her learn the pronunciation of ingredients, Yash has been a constant support for Suman Dhamne.
A major blow came to the duo when the channel got hacked on October 17. The hackers ran a bitcoin live stream on the link and some videos disappeared from the channel.
“I was upset and skipped the meals for the day,” Suman said. “My grandson had done so much of hard work and the videos just disappeared one day,” Suman Dhamne said.
The channel eventually got restored in about four days and even the videos came back.
Grandma’s channel now
Her channel has around 120 videos of different dishes and recipes. With millions of views and subscribers, Suman Dhamne has dedicated herself to bringing new and exciting recipes to her viewers.
“The viewers often get tempted by the colour of the food items and spices. They also request to have a call and discuss the recipe. Hundreds of people have asked for the spices.”
The duo has also started the commercial sale of their traditional spices after getting several enquiries from the viewers.
“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,” said Suman Dhamne.