What’s a jhola?: When I first started writing My Jhola on a bored evening in 2008, I didn’t imagine that it would engulf me in its warmth and love. I didn’t think that I would end up choosing a profession for which I had no real qualifications or experience (a Masters in English Literature and a career background of Editing and Instructional Design have little to do with food writing). When I created the blog on the then Blogspot domain, I didn’t know what I would write about; so I named it “My Jhola” after the huge cloth totes that I would use back then—large hold-all bags that would carry miscellaneous stuff. The “Jhola blog” as my friends call it, however, began to primarily carry food-related posts.
Photography: Soon after I set up the blog, my husband gifted me a point-and shoot camera, a basic Sony Cyber Shot for my birthday and suddenly, I was flung into the fascinating world of food photography and therefore, food styling. I want to cower and die when I see some of my older pictures, but soon realize that they were valuable lessons in photography—I learned so much from them! My parents later gifted me my Canon 500D (again, for my birthday) which I use for most of my photography. That’s when I’m not flicking my brother’s Canon 7D. All my photography happens in the natural light that comes flooding in through my kitchen window. I am still learning, and there’s a long way to go!
Food videos: Sometime after my brother finished film school, I started begging him to shoot a recipe video for me. At first, he thought I wanted to shoot a sad, two-dimensional video the likes of regional food shows in India. Then when I finally sat him down and shared my ideas with him, he agreed. That eventually led to our YouTube channel (please subscribe!). In our recipe videos, we try to highlight the beauty of cooking—the colors and textures of ingredients and the simplicity of the process itself. I don’t claim that I am trying to educate people who aren’t very used to cooking; but, I do want to show that cooking is therapeutic, and needn’t always involve ingredient lists and processes that run into reams and reams of pages.
Fiction: There’s also a small section on Fiction (for lack of a batter word) on this website. This section actually carries all my non-food writing. There are a few (very) short stories, some snippets and reflections on life and, after the birth of my daughter, some experiences in parenting. I am happy to see that, contrary to my perceptions, a lot of you like to read these bits as well—it is very heartwarming to see that a lot of you have similar experiences!
My Jhola Wall of fame: If you do try out any of my recipes, please write in or share the pictures on the Facebook page—I’d love to put them up on the My Jhola Wall of Fame. Not to mention the ego boost that I could do with!