Her cooking puts a smile on people’s faces, her zeal inspires her to master different cuisines and her heart of gold puts food in the hungry stomachs of the young, the old and the sick. Mother of two, and humanitarian – that’s Geeta Shridhar for you. Her non-profit food business, the India Food Express, stemmed from her passion for food and her strong desire to replicate the cuisines of India’s vast cultural heritage as well as trending food variations from around the world.
It all started when Geeta moved to Mumbai in the early years of her marriage and began caring for her ailing father who was suffering from cancer knowing that the pain he was going through at the time was unimaginable. His suffering stirred Geeta’s soul, and it was what encouraged her to help other less fortunate souls. Her visits to the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital made her realize that it isn’t easy for every cancer patient to have access to nutritious food to help revive themselves during the course of chemotherapy. She then took it upon herself to feed all those ailing and in need. Cancer patients more than anyone rely on their kith and kin to recover both physiologically and psychologically and this is what Geeta aimed to achieve through her soulful food.
I try incorporating my adventures with food on my travels around the world.”
Her love for social work coupled with her passion for experimenting with foods from around India and the globe inspired her to start the India Food Express. Her cooking skills earned her the runner-up position in the Indian hit reality show – ‘MasterChef India’. Not only does Geeta love to cook but she loves to eat too, constantly putting her taste buds to the test. The different flavours of food fascinate her and inspire her to concoct her own variations of everything she tastes. She even gets multiple opportunities to try out different foods at different restaurants and give her expert reviews on the same.
The Struggles of Being a Social Activist
Geeta says it was never easy being a social activist which at times required her to be in too many places at once. Her innate desire to care for senior citizens in old age homes and at the same time devote her attention to less fortunate children and try educating them constantly kept her on her feet, but found her falling short of time. She was sometimes torn between two or more charitable events occurring at the same time. Understandable for someone like Geeta whose heart is as big as her fan following. She even works with kids battling autism.
I firmly believe that if goodness made itself omnipresent, I wouldn’t have been so torn.”
Which is why the world could use more people like Geeta. She also finds herself pressed for funds to help the less fortunate, but thanks to some good Samaritans, who, recognize her work and her pure intentions, Geeta is able to garner the money she needs to carry out her commendable charitable work.
“I am simply inspired by life and the people around me”, says a very humble Geeta. Having lived in a city where she was ridden of comforts all the time, Geeta was able to easily open her eyes and witness the apathy around her. She would keep looking around to find anyone who needed her help and would later fall back on the funds of her generous volunteers who were more like devotees following in the footsteps of their Gandhi. “I firmly believe that if your intentions are good the universe will reach out to you to help fulfill your ambitions.” Looks like the universe always kept one eye on Geeta, and rightly so.
The Support Behind This Superhuman Social Worker
Geeta is very fortunate to have a caring husband and two beautiful daughters who have always supported her cause. In spite of Geeta’s jam-packed schedule, her family attends and helps volunteer at some of her events. Her two generous daughters very willingly part with a certain percentage of their income to help their ‘Mother Teresa’. They also accompany her to food reviews and various social events often accompany me as well.
But Geeta’s good deeds don’t stop here. She also encourages restaurants to donate their leftover food to the Robin Hood army. Or she has her own fleet of volunteers who willingly hop over and collect the food to feed to the less fortunate. “The idea is not to waste food. I wish that in the future years, no children are starving or malnourished owing to the lack of food.” Geeta also encourages volunteers who possess certain special talents to teach children how to sing, dance and write to enable them to build on their extra-co- curricular strengths as she believes that these qualities will always take the kids an extra mile in the future.
As far as the India Food Express goes, Geeta is busy shooting videos in Tamil, showcasing a variety of scrumptious recipes to people. She has also been invited by six restaurants (purely vegetarian) to curate their menus. Looks like Geeta has certainly got her hands, and her plate, full!
The idea is not to waste food. I wish that in the future years, no children are starving or malnourished owing to the lack of food.”
“Social causes cannot be induced. It is something that should occur naturally to an individual.” Individuals like Geeta, whose relentless giving nature knows no bounds. Parents can always teach their children to partake in such activities, however, it rests upon their shoulders to invest their time and earnings in the later years to continue those activities. “Goodness should stem from the inside of one’s heart.” And when goodness stems from the inside of a heart as big and bold as Geeta’s, it definitely makes the world a better place to live in.