CHEERS TO THAT!
Tejuswini Chowdhury, daughter of politician Renuka Chowdhury, starts the world’s first Ayurvedic Cocktail Bar
To impart health benefits of Ayurveda to the younger generation, Tejuswini Chowdhury is pairing Ayurvedic cocktails with club food at her night club Pudding & Mink, also the world’s first Ayurvedic Cocktail Bar. She speaks to Society about this novel concept
Have you ever thought of a concept where the modern can meet ancient science to appeal to the youth? I bet there are many ideas in everyone’s head. One such idea that seems to be working is Ayurvedic cocktails. Yes, that’s right. It might sound like an oxymoron but Tejuswini Chowdhury seems to have cracked the code and has got takers queuing up outside her hip and happening night club, Pudding & Mink in Hyderabad. Tejuswini is the daughter of firebrand politician Renuka Chowdhury, who was also regarded as one of those people who were ahead of many others in her vocation when it came to ideas and execution. Here are the excerpts from an interview with the dynamic Tejuswini Chowdhury.
How did the concept of Ayurvedic cocktails and food in a night club come about? It is interesting because the Ayurvedic lifestyle is usually seen as that which abstains from alcohol and being up at late night hours.
I discovered Ayurveda when I was pregnant, five years ago. If Ayurveda was a religion, nature would be its Goddess. We are the microcosm of the bigger macrocosm. What better way to reintroduce our ancient heritage than through the extreme lifestyle that is now our norm? Ayurveda is all about balance. Mixing our drinks according to Ayurvedic philosophy brings a balance into the crazy lives that we all lead nowadays. A modern day city dweller is not going to turn into a yogi overnight. But if we learn to mix little bits of nature into our chemical worlds, I think it introduces even the biggest
sceptic to the concept of greater connection to our cosmos. It’s like wearing a seatbelt when you are driving. You still need to drive. But why not be smart about it?
And how does one know what to order?
Our patrons can take an Ayurvedic body type test which tells them what their body type is and can accordingly choose their drinks and food. Everything on the menu is labelled according to its Ayurvedic properties.
Your club is named after your pets Pudding and Mink. Why didn’t you think of something that resonates with your menu? Or was the menu developed later?
Ayurveda is about balance, love and connection. It’s about vibrations and energies. My pets have the purest energies and resonate the vibration I most associate with—unconditional love. So every time I say ‘Pudding & Mink’, I am automatically resonating on a beautiful frequency. I try to create from a space of unconditional love. So it was a no-brainer.
Are you planning to take Pudding & Mink to other cities?
Pudding & Mink is the world’s first Ayurvedic Cocktail Bar. I think we will go wherever people see the intelligence in protecting their bodies from the detrimental effects of our modern lifestyles. We do have a lot of interest from cities abroad, those which are very health conscious. So the world is my oyster right now.
Hyderabad is not really associated with a rocking night life, but I have seen how your establishment attracts people, who queue up till late hours. How do you explain that? Is the city benefitting from expat crowd or is the new generation breaking taboos?
Hyderabadis are Nawabis by nature. While the city is becoming more cosmopolitan, I stand by the statement that ‘no one parties the way Hyderabadis do’. We just needed more avenues to express ourselves safely and the government is finally taking notice. Every generation evolves and has a new set of challenges and benefits. I am glad
people are finding value in a place like Pudding & Mink. I think we are finally growing up and letting people be.
Could you tell us about your educational background? Was it always your dream to open an uber chic eatery and hangout place?
I studied entrepreneurship in college along with filmmaking. I never in my life thought I would get into the food and beverage industry, but found myself spending increasing amounts of time in the world of cooking and Ayurveda, especially post the birth of my child. My family has always had an open door policy and I grew up with endless visitors and friends at the dining table. Food brings people together and food is medicine. It creates a sense of community and belonging which is critical to our well-being as humans. I just found myself automatically wanting to create a space that people felt welcome in. You never know what life has in store for you. I like to go with the flow.
You have also dabbled in fashion modelling. And you were regarded as a person who had a great ramp presence. Why didn’t you pursue it further?
I still love fashion and design but I believe in immersing myself in a world that goes beyond just what the eyes can perceive. I still love doing a great photo shoot but have always believed in only doing work that represents women as multidimensional and fantastical creatures with great power. I don’t like portraying myself as just a sex object.
You are a mother of a son now. How do you balance your work and home demands?
It is hard. I missed my mom terribly when I was a child as she had to go to parliament. So I was especially paranoid about working. I try to make sure he gets my undivided attention every day. I only felt comfortable working once he started school. But you always feel like you can do more, be more. You never feel good enough as a mother and I guess you just figure it out as you go along. You have great days where you feel you hit every note, and some days you feel miserable because you missed putting him to bed. I really believe that men and women have to work like a team. There’s no ‘your job’ and ‘my job’. A family just has to pitch in wherever necessary and most importantly, do it with a smile.
What are your plans for future? Would you like to get into politics like your mother or you would rather be an entrepreneur that you are?
I like to surrender myself to the will of the universe. I don’t like to pre-plan too much because you might miss an opportunity in the current moment. I feel like I have so much to learn and experience and I am willing to keep exploring different areas of life. Right now I am a mom, an entrepreneur and a student of life. Whatever my future holds, I don’t want to hold on to it with too much attachment. Whatever will be, will be.
“Mixing our drinks according to Ayurvedic philosophy brings a balance into the crazy lives that we all lead nowadays”