In Conversation With Geeta Sridhar who mothers 28 kids suffering from Cancer
Give love and you will receive ten folds back from the universe. Serve selflessly, and it will be returned when you need it the most!
Some people make waves in a way one cannot imagine. When I first stumbled upon Geeta Shridhar’s profile, I simply thought she was just another food blogger. Little did I know about her journey. The moment I learned the same, I thought of how imperative it is to have people with a vivid streak of philanthropy to keep society running on an even keel. Geeta Shridhar combines her interests along with her passion and serves all those who need love and attention at the most crucial times of their lives. Geeta has also educated young minds and given them the gift of a fulfilling life. Excerpts of BananiVista in conversation with Geeta Sridhar.
BV: Taking care of orphan kids who are suffering from cancer is a very different idea of social service. What made you take this step?
Geeta: My father’s illness gripped me in more than ways. I watched him suffer in silence right in front of my eyes. I was shocked to understand that trauma that each cancer patient went through during the course of the treatment. The medical industry has made a business out of the disease and manages to crumble the willpower of those who even strongly desire to live.
My father was an old man, but when I started learning of young kids suffer from cancer, I began to empathize even more with them. It saddened me to think of the years they would lose if the sickness took over. A child’s morale is shattered with the chemotherapy, and radiation sessions. I thought to myself if I could make a difference in the life of even one child during that time, it would make a world of a difference. Which is precisely why I took a step in the direction and started helping orphaned kids.
BV: How does it feel to take care of 28 kids who need special attention? What are the challenges involved in this?
Geeta: When you do things with a smile on your face and from your heart, things become a lot easier. Also when you are invested in your passion, you can empathize with the person who is suffering better. You will automatically comprehend their needs, and the kind of pain they go through on a regular basis. My challenge lies in organizing the finances, but I also believe, where there is a will there is a way! When I will that I genuinely want to care for these children, I find a way, OR there is someone who has noticed my selfless services and helps with the donations too. I also put in all of my own earnings to help these kids.
BV: Did you face any societal pressures while taking this decision? If yes, what were they and how did you handle them?
Geeta: Society always has its own part to play even if you are doing something good. My urge to help people was met with snide remarks, to begin with. People in my family went all out to discourage me from taking to this selfless cause. However, during such trying times, I had the undying support of my husband and my daughters. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have gone such a long way.
BV: Are you sentimental or an emotionally strong lady? Tell us something about your personal attributes when it comes to emotions.
Geeta: I am indeed a very sentimental and emotional person. Perhaps it would be more fitting to state that I have a high emotional quotient. There are many things that move me in no time at all. Even a sad plot in a movie could move me to tears. But that is for the greater good of all those who I can help around me. It helps me reach out better to people with special needs.
BV: You are a well-known food blogger. How did you enter into this profession?
Geeta: I enjoy cooking. I enjoy preparing different kinds of foods for the kids at the cancer hospital. Their taste buds take a back seat, and I ensure I make something that they would like so that they at least have a little food to keep them going. My passion urged me to participate in Masterchef India when I emerged as one of the runner-up’s. While I was on the show, my daughter would pen down all the recipes. After the hustle and bustle of the show were done with, she urged me to start with my own blog. I almost got instant recognition, and organically assumed popularity of a number of social media platforms. With the growing popularity, I was being invited to review a number of restaurants (and I still continue to do so). I have received many accolades for my work, and am especially known as one of the best Indi food bloggers in the country.
BV: What are the plus points and the challenges of being in the food industry?
Geeta: Well, the pluses are you are exposed to many people, and many cultures through food. I am especially fond of Indian food, but after entering this industry I have managed to learn a lot more about world cuisines. I have explored a new arena of fusion foods too.
Since my blog has taken over the internet, I am invited to a number of events, and in return, I receive fancy gift hampers that really help with the food preparation for the cancer children.
BV: How are the kids taken care of? Do you work alone or there is a team of supporters and volunteers?
Geeta: I work with volunteers. Some have been associated with me since long. I have even managed to educate two orphan kids who have been volunteering all along, and today they are degree holders. Some volunteers just come and go and help when they can.
BV: Share some of the anecdotes that you have experienced while doing this noble task!
Geeta: Once I was serving my cancer kids, and one sweet girl burst into tears. I asked her why was she crying? And she replied, “Because Rohit wrote ‘I love you in my book…’. I calmed her down and told her that the child who wrote I love you loves everyone! So there is nothing wrong with that. Immediately the child who wrote ‘I love you’ in her notebook, got up and stated, “But I genuinely love her like they love in films Geeta ma!” I stopped stared and burst into peals of laughter. I laugh every time I think of this incident of puppy-love at 9.
BV: Your future plans?
Geeta: I do want to establish a bigger team to help my blog grow. I also have started my own youtube channel when I post live videos in Tamil. I show how simple preparations can be made, using simple ingredients. By doing this I try reaching out to the youth who are staying in homes away from home and give them the nuances of cooking.