Stories nourish the mind. There are stories that captivate you and there are stories that completely engulf you in their realm and leave a permanent impact on your heart. One such is the story of Chitra Soni, a woman who dared to dream and created a pathway of success for herself and thousands of others who follow her. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation with her.
When I joined hotel management college in 1970, the course was recently introduced in the country and was not that popular among women. Thus I was one of the 5 girls in the class of 100, but I discovered my passion for cooking and enjoyed every bit of it. After the graduation I was placed at ‘The Taj Group’ Mumbai and my joy had no bounds. I was living my fairy-tale, but then unexpectedly due to my father’s transfer we had to shift. I had to leave my promising job, dreams and fairytale back in Mumbai and move to this new city which did not even have a single big hotel, Nagpur.
This transformation hit me really hard and I was exhausted mentally. I had qualifications, experience but no opportunity to showcase my talent. Some months passed by and there was an opening for the post of lecturer in LED college which had introduced HMC recently, I went to the interview and to my surprise I was the only candidate present there who had relevant qualifications! But this journey carved my future as I discovered if there was something I loved more than cooking it was teaching how to cook!
Things were going smoothly, I also met the man of my dreams and we decided to marry, but after marriage, I had to resign from my job due to family commitments. I was clueless once again. One fine day my father in law asked me ‘What are you doing these days?’ to which I retorted ‘Nothing much’. He asked ‘Why don’t you start doing something from the house itself?’ and I grabbed this opportunity as hard as I could and started my journey by opening the first cooking classes in Nagpur, ‘RUCHIRA’ in 1975. I just had 6 students for my first batch, and last year in 2018 when I decided to finally end my journey of Ruchira I had already trained 1,00,000+ students! The proudest moment for me was when I was called ‘Ruchira Aunty’. I was successful in creating a brand. It took hard work, consistency, and dedication from every moment of my life. Today when I look back I see a scholar, employee of a five star hotel, a teacher, a housewife, and an entrepreneur and most importantly a satisfied and happy human being who has lived her life to the fullest and if you think this is the end of my career, you are wrong. I have just begun my journey as an adviser. So all the women out there, there is nothing such as happy ending to your fairytale as you are your fairy who can write her own tales!”
Kudos to her journey as a loving mom, an exceptional chef, and a successful entrepreneur