CHEERS TO THAT!

Society - - CONTENTS - By Meeta Mishra

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”

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