09 April '17


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they call her: DADI


Mixed Sambhariya [Dry Potato Curry]

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"I can’t stand silence. When I came to England I cried because it was so quiet – especially on Sundays, everything was closed. I lost weight. I couldn’t eat. I missed my family and I couldn’t get anything I wanted for my cooking. The weather was so cold but I wanted to go out in just my Sari. I had to wear shoes, and trousers and a heavy coat. This was all new to me. My family were rich and we had servants where we lived in Tanzania. Here, I learned to work hard for everything. 

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I keep my mothers alive in my food. My own mother made savouries like no one else and my mother in law, she is in my sweet dishes. We show our love for our children by cooking. Before the grandchildren visit, I ask them, ‘what can I make for you? What do you want to take home with you? You call me in time and I make it for you to take it back.’ They call me and they say ‘Dadi this is finished now’ and then I make it for them straight away. 


You have to compromise with your life. I met my husband six months after we were engaged. I agreed with my father that I would marry him so I simply had to like the look of him. I remember, I was so skinny because I had nearly died of Typhoid before the wedding. I saw him for the first time from the ship as I arrived in Tanzania from India. To me, it wasn’t a choice or option to think it wouldn’t work. In our time, we wouldn’t even consider that we weren’t happy. We made it work. 


It’s now 56 years later, we are happily married and I never complain. Well, I complain when he doesn’t give me money. ‘I always ask him, why don’t you buy me Sari?’ He says, ‘buy it yourself.’ Sometimes he gives up, other times I give up. For a happy marriage, we compromise. But we do argue. If life goes quiet, I tell him, ‘We haven’t argued for a long time. I don’t like it! It’s so quiet and silent.’ 


The most important thing I have learned in life, is economise. I learned this from my husband. He still is working and he’s 82. I make my own Saris and sell them, then I give the money I make to charity. That is what you must do to stay young, keep yourself active and keep going.


Also, you must eat yogurt! I always tell everybody my skin is not that wrinkly because of the yogurt. Yogurt! Yogurt! I’m telling everybody. I would die if I don’t eat yogurt!

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