From being a media professional to a business entrepreneur and then becoming an author, Swati Khanna Gulati has come a long way. Speaking about her first book ‘Punjabi Thali’ in the panel discussion ‘Food Thoughts’, Swathi explained how her marriage and love for food shaped this delicious masterpiece. When asked about her journey she replied, “I was a media person for Outlook and Parragon Publishing before deciding to become my own boss. I wanted to drive my own scene and my own events and since I am a foodie I thought of doing something with food. I started taking classes in my kitchen, teaching people to cook and created a website to inform people about my kitchen workshop. The book actually started like a diary of sorts, writing day-to-day events, noting down thoughts, recipes or some food phrases. Slowly and steadily I realized that I had a flair for writing so I ‘cooked up’ a story and as luck would have it, the publishers liked it and here I am. That is how the ‘cookie crumbled’. Punjabi Thali is a metaphor which represents the sweet and sour events and relationships of my life.”
On the growing trend of Youtube and New Media and their influence on traditional cookbooks and food literature, Swathi commented that it has got reinvented. “Food literature has found its branches of sustenance. For example, I have come across fictional novels where the writers have included food recipes amidst the plot. It works as a catalyst in taking the story line forward. Someday even I intend to write such a book where I will share my recipes and build up a story pre- and post so that it fits the bill.”
When asked about how to promote women writers in India, she replied “Women, in India especially, have been a subdued lot. It is going to take them time to come out and be bold about what they know best. Till sometime back being a housewife was a taboo but now she has been reinvented as a home maker. If we have come this far, I am sure as we progress further, and the women will come out with their cultural and long lost recipes. My tip would be to not be ashamed of what you are.”
Finally on her thoughts about HLF Swathi very enthusiastically replied that it rocked. “Just like the new year, the HLF 2016 is the harbinger of newer opportunities, exchange of ideas, new communications, avenues and newer assimilation of intellectual people. It’s a great platform for people to network and share their ideas. The response to my first book has lifted up my spirits and I am going home happy.” She concluded.
– Gaura Naithani