As a documenter of traditional Indian handicrafts, I’ve travelled the country searching, chasing, and documenting our traditional handicrafts. From broom-making to ivory inlay, I try to bring these crafts out of obscurity to remind our coming generations about a way of life, before technology invaded us. As I travel into the country’s deep interiors, researching and documenting, I sometimes stay in forgotten hamlets for days or sometimes weeks on end. As a result, I also get to sample long forgotten or hitherto unknown dishes. This also includes sampling the sweets that the common people of India eat. After-meal sweets vary from purple fennel seeds in Assam to deep fried flaky pastry dough dipped in sugar syrup aptly named “Kha Kha” in Bihar. Having a huge sweet tooth inspired me to also document these humble desserts and the people behind them.
Unfortunately, I had to pay a price for my wanderlust. Unhealthy eating habits, unpredictable meal times and a haphazard lifestyle had me diagnosed with prediabetes. This was a crushing blow to me. My family, though concerned about my diagnosis, was also looking forward to not having to share their festive season sweets with me. After all, I had eaten more than my fair share over the past years and was now just paying the price. My doctor had advised me to steer clear of everything sweet or with sugar if I wanted to be okay in the future. Thanks to my family’s support, this was easy. What I struggled with the most, however, was being forced to have unsweetened tea in the mornings. I just couldn’t reconcile myself to ‘feeki chai’. After begging and pleading with my doctor, he finally allowed me to add Kaloree1 to my morning chai. Thank goodness for little mercies! I finally feel I can move towards a healthier lifestyle without erasing all signs of sweetness from my life.