Nagalakshmi, a cook with visual impairment, and her sister-in-law Bondala Kavitha use their cheery vlog to remind us that the best kind of food is simple
“So what if I can’t see? Other people can and I can teach them to cook my specialities,” says Nellore-based Boddu Nagalakshmi, who along with her sister-in-law Bondala Kavitha launched Kavitha Naga Vlogs for food videos and friendly chatter in September.
What makes the videos of these 26-year-olds stand out is the simplicity with which they are presented. So much so, that this month-old vlog has pulled in 40,000 subscribers and gets between 1 lakh and 3 lakh views per video.
Nagalakshmi, who is blind in her left eye and has about 10% sight in the right, is a bundle of energy. She loves the camera and is always up for fun. She says, “I always wanted to be on YouTube but didn’t know how. My sister-in-law and I discussed it and decided to make home-cooking videos.”
Proud of her cooking skills, she says, with all honesty, that though she cooks everything well, her pappu charu and pacchadi are the best.
“I never used to cook when my mother was around. After she passed away, one of our tenants introduced me to the nuances of cooking. While I add salt and other ingredients with the judgement of my touch, I decided quantity of oil purely by practise.”
Kavitha says, “Till date, no one can say that Nagalakshmi has used excess oil in any dish. Her food is simple and very tasty.
She adds, “I love her range of pachchadis the most. There is no ingredient with which she has not made a pachchadi. The video where she made pachchadi with chukka kura (spinach dock/khatta palak) was viewed by a lot of people. Viewers tried the recipe and shared the results with me on Instagram handle @kavithareddybondala.” Kavitha continues, “Nagalakshmi also makes an amazing chutney with urad dal.”
It is obvious that they enjoy each other’s company as well as creating the vlog. They are excited about the channel’s earnings so far, though they are yet to withdraw the amount.
“When it increases some more, I want to buy something nice in gold for Nagalakshmi,” says Kavitha.
The two recently posted a video of Nellore chepala pulusu, with side notes on why the dish is famous. For this, they asked Kavitha’s sister for help, to find the most authentic recipe possible.
Nagalakshmi says, “Akka’s chepala pulusu is top class in Nellore.”
Through Kavitha Naga Vlogs, they want to show regional dishes, some forgotten and some yet to be discovered.
Says Nagalakshmi, “We want to shoot a video with Kavitha’s mother. She makes an excellent mutton dish that lasts many days without refrigeration. Kavitha is the chicken expert in the family and we love whatever chicken dish she makes.”
When asked how she learnt to face the camera and speak confidently, Nagalakshmi laughs, “TV. With whatever eyesight is left, I watch all the serials. I learn from there. I have studied till fifth class and can manage a little in English as well. And all that I have learnt from Telugu TV serials like Gruhalaksmi, Kasturi, Trinayani, Nagabhairavi .”
Kavitha adds that Nagalakshmi’s positive and cheerful demeanour is a big attraction. “She never indulges in self-pity. She is always looking to do something new and keeping us all engaged and happy.”