From Coding To Cooking: Flavours of Navaratri Seva

     One and a half lakh people dined at the beautifully decorated Ashram Kitchen’s Annapurna Dining Hall on the day of Chandi Homa. But few know that the delicious food had an IT-techno angle to it: a team of 10 IT professionals had fervently joined the seva of cooking and serving for the nine days of Navaratri.

     We interviewed one of these unlikely enthusiasts about their motivation and how they had made the transition from coding to cooking. Amazingly, all of them are also Art of Living teachers and volunteers who regularly conduct courses.

     Their journey began about eleven years back, when they were invited to the Ashram for seva during Navaratri, Shivaratri and Gurudev’s birthday, but after a couple of years, they gravitated to Kitchen seva. Since they wanted to combine learning with seva, they began learning the art of cooking special and ordinary dishes in the Kitchen: boondi, vadas, mixture, moong dal halwa, kofta, sambhar, rasam, and so on.

     Says one of them,” I feel energized by the amazing atmosphere in the Kitchen. The cooking ladles (cooking spoons) alone weigh at least 10 kg. each. To be able to handle them for long periods, and stir them through tons of food on the stoves is nothing but magic. To help in cooking such vast quantities is to be in the moment. I feel Gurudev’s presence every moment I am working.” All of them are grateful for this tremendous seva platform accorded to them and affirm that this is by the grace of the Master.

     Here is the really “stirring” part: all of them take leave from work for 7-10 days and commute from their nearby homes for this seva. They feel it is awe-inspiring to serve the thousands of visitors. Most of them do not cook at home, except for one or two who do and take over the making of an entire meal with tasty traditional dishes.

     Did they rest after their strenuous Navaratri cooking duties? Far from it. They love cooking and equally enjoy serving the food to the smiling, eager diners, and that is how we met some of them and came to know of their unique journey from the world of computers to the universe of cooking and serving food over nine days - to thousands from over 74 nations.