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About Me

Welcome to Food Friend!!!

Photo at on the way to Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, United States

Is there any rule only VIPs can write life stories? In our life also we would have faced many challenges and hurdles. Let me start writing my story.

I am Samyraj, a software engineer. In my native village, they call me Samy. I am from Trichy (The Rock City), Omandur Village.  To be honest, I was not much interested in cooking till when I moved away from my hometown for my career. Then I was in the situation to prepare food myself. That's when interest in food increased. The end result is this website foodfriend.net.

Family Background:

I was from a 100% poor farmer family. Our life was very little within the village. We had land for lease during my childhood(Would be around the age of 3 to 9 years). We had our own cows, buffalo, bullocks. I used to get them for grazing. Roaming around the village forest is really fun and enjoyable.  Watering to the garden plants, picking the veggies from plants, lunch (millet koozh) under the tamarind tree, climbing guava tree, seasonal palm harvest and eating along with all farming laborers, taking baths in the water bunk, sitting on the tracker whenever plowing are unforgettable memories. 

In my 3-1/2 years, I got polio(1988). That time is the poliovirus attacking Indian people which might be spread from other countries(like the current coronavirus).  My parents spend a lot of money and were not able to cure 100%. They spent almost all the property to cure including my mother Thaali. 

Not only me, but My brother also once got a severe fever and his mouth turned to the wrong shape. They had to give a current shock.  Every time they had to pay 750Rs. They were given almost 6 months.  That time 750Rs for us is too much money. We could manage 2-month expenses with 750Rs. 

It did not stop there, my sister also got sick due to viral fever for a month when she was child. In her 9 years. Because of sickness, she became lean, almost went to dead stage. Our neighbor told it is due to the Ghost. A neighbor old lady told that the ghost was in front of our house and it was calling my sister. We were getting much panic and my parents took her to all temple, Mosque. One day mother took my sister in bus and luckily a lady doctor who was in charge of our village government hospital seen her sickness. She asked get her to hospital. She gave her 3 to 4 bottles of glucose trips. That's all. My sister got energy and told hungry. Then we gave whatever she asked to eat. In next two days, she cured 100%. My entire family learnt a lesson that there is no ghost or anything. We should not belief superstition.

After these incidents my parents worried a lot about our poverty. They went to check the horoscope for all of us. The priest told that time that in my 24th age, our poverty will go away and family status get improved. Exactly in y 24th only I got my first salary. 

Tea shop:

Later, we quit our farming work because of some issues (I don't remember exactly), we started a tea shop during my 9 to 15 years at my village. I used to make tea, coffee, Vada/Bajji/Bonda, Sarbath, Juice. Actually, there was a bank opposite our shop,  bank manager used to appreciate my tea preparation and taste. We also make buttermilk with the excess milk from the tea shop. I used to sell them to village people by roaming on a bicycle. Here, I have to mention my bicycle. I never forgot that bicycle. Myself, my brother and a few of our friends get practiced in that cycle. It has a nickname as Bullock cart.  ok, coming to the point, At that time 1 glass (maybe 200 ml) of buttermilk is 1 rupee. 1 kg of good rice is 18Rupees. 1kg sugar is 14rupees. Chikki what we get for 2 rupees is just 25 paisa. In villages, vegetables are being exchanged by neighbors for no cost. That was a very economical life. We no longer get those days back. There were no gas cylinders in the villages. We use charcoals for a tea shop. Myself and my mom used to collect charcoal from every one house for cost.

Childhood Schooling: 

My father used to drop me at Playschool on a bicycle. We call it is Paalarpalli. I never mingle with other kids, I was always sitting outside the classroom and keep watch the road to see my father's arrival. He used to come and pick me back. I would like to thank Naachar Aunty and Veeramani aunty here for caring for me with special attention. In the Initial days, till my second standard completion, I never go to school properly. I used to hide in the maze farm, or I used to sit somewhere, and once my parents leave to the garden, I return home back. Because, I was fearing about our 1st standard and 2nd standard teacher Konalai teacher and Somasundaram sir. Not sure why I had that mindset. In Addition to that, I had ortho surgery for polio during this period and was not able to go to school, Due to lagging in attendance, I failed twice in the 2nd standard. Third-year was also supposed to fail but luckily pass. At that time there was no mandatory pass rule. Now I guess until the 8th standard no-fail rule is in place.  

In my third year, Thinnanoor sir (Mr. Thangaraj) advised me that "you are from a poor family and your parents are struggling a lot with three kids. Only if you study well and go to a good job, you can care for them in the future". Those pieces of advice visual are still in my mind. The next day, there was a session for memorizing Aathichoodi (by poet Avvai) in an hour and recital.  I did very well and completed the task with claps. Our teacher Mrs. Jayamohana mam appreciated me in front of everyone and asked all the students to clap. That first appreciation made me make class first in all examinations. From then I was ranked # 1 in the class until my 5th standard. I would like to remember my teachers Ms. Jayamohana mam, Ms.Susila mam, Ms.Thayyalnayagi mam, Mr. Vaiyapuri Sir,  Mr.Thangaraj our Head Master Valayapathi sir. Our teachers used to share their food also with us.  They used to take their lunch along with students. 

When talking about lunch, I need to mention one more thing. We used to have a habit of eating egg yellow yolk mixed with rice. Our nutrition organizer (Sathunavu amaippalar in Tamil) (Subramaniam sir) used to advise not to do that. But, we never listen to him because of its taste. The combination of mixing egg yellow yolk with sathunavu meals was very tasty. He also used to care for me well. When he have free time, he used to teach us. Also, Jyothi Aunty and Banu Aunty make lunch for us. Subramanian sir was very kind and so helpful😃

Days passed on this same way until my high school.  All are my friends, but I would like to mention Nirmala Devi, Rengasamy, Shanmugaraja (B standard) who gave tough competition to get the first rank till my 5th standard.

High school:

On my 6th to 12th, we sold the tea shop due to the lack of manpower and we started to have goats. We had around 35 goats. I used to get them for grazing with a textbook on weekends. They do their grazing and I read. Those are really unforgettable days. I enjoy nature. We pick forest fruits and mushrooms, taking bath in the lake water, etc. 

6th to 10th life is the one who really learns many life skills.  Here also I was part of B standard in all the classes. (7th B, 9th B) . I was class first in B standard, but I used to get 2nd or 3rd in 6th, 8th as there are no class divisions. My competitive friends here are Saravanakumar,  Sivapriya, Nirmala Devi. I like to remember my teachers N Gopalakrishnan (Headmaster), K Palanisamy sir, Subbaiah sir, Terasa teacher, Maragatham teacher, Kaanikkai Raj sir, Mohan(Drawing master) sir, Manjula teacher, Geetha teacher, Venkatachalam sir, Umadevi mam(Head misses after NG sir) and everyone's favorite teacher S Muthukrishnan sir (Sumuki sir), our PET miss.

All my teachers are very talented and shaped my life skill very well apart from education. Our NG sir got a Teachers national award. He was the one who improved our high school very well. From two buildings to 5 to 6 now.  He used to get donations from many of the good hearts with no hesitation and developed the school.  I am proud to be his student.  

There used to be many competitions also during Independence day, Republic day, Annual Day. I used to participate in all the competitions and win prizes. Our teachers used to help us. 

I spoke on All India Radio twice with my teacher. One with NG sir, and another one with Sumuki sir during my high school days. That is the time I went with them and visit the city. One program is about Environmental awareness and another one is about Bharathiyar.  

Got first prize in essay competition conducted by Leo club. I went with Umadevi's teacher and collected the prize. She was very proud to mention our school in front of hundreds of people in her speech. Also, I got a National level merit certificate for drawing competitions conducted by Camel Company. Mohan sir is the reason behind that. 

On my 9th standard annual day, I got many prizes in all competitions. One of the chief guests (Selvaraj sir, Kurinchi college chairman) got impressed and asked me what is needed? Then I asked him for a bicycle.  Immediately he was gifted a brand new bicycle. Still, my father uses that cycle and it is still in good condition.

I got the school's second mark on the 10th board exam. Saravanakumar got the school's first mark as he was centum in maths. He is one of my best friends. Then I joined the 11th standard.

Higher Secondary:

My higher secondary school was not much extracurricular oriented, so nothing to say special.  But, here also there are best teachers like Boopathi sir, Karuppusami sir, NV sir.  I got the school's first mark in the board exam. My mother was so proud to get the prize in my absence (I was in college, Salem) from district Collecter for getting the school first.  I used to go by bicycle to school. In my 17th year, we bought a piece of land in our native which had full of bushes almost an acre. I and father cleaned the land thoroughly and prepared for farmland. Luckily that time is my summer holidays after the 12th standard board exam. 

Our school Zoological Teacher, arrange a tour to Kerala during my 11th standard.  I went to Kerala. That's my first tour outside our state and when I went outside our district.

 College days:

Then I joined the Salem Govt Engineering college and completed my CSE, Bachelor Engineering. I got very nice friends and my seniors in my college days. The challenge I had was the English language. All lectures will be in English. It was very difficult for me to listen and understand what is going on because I am from Tamil medium and also from a very rural area. Because of that, I got a few areas also. Then from the second year onwards, I get used to English and aligned. My college friends are very special to me.  All of them are very helpful and supportive. I got much help and support from my friends Sahayam, Razik, Gouri Shankar, JP, Venki, Rubini, Rizwana. Special thanks to Sahayam for supporting me for all four years. I used to interact with all other departments as well. 

In college second year, I got my first phone. That's Reliance phone.  My brother's gift.  Then in the third year, I got a new desktop. My brother only made me complete Engineering. Due to the family situation, he ended his study and went for a job. He joined in a job for just 750Rs monthly Salary. One semester fee paid by donation I got from Mr. Selvaraj, Kurinji college chairman. The other semester Mam Ms. J. Jayalalitha paid as part of Farmers child education program. Also, I got a scholarship from Government.  My total expense of completing engineering including Hostel fees is around 1.20 lakhs.

All four years, I was in a hostel. The Hostal life is very good.  I never forgot the memories. We used to go to Sakthi Vilas tea shop in front of our college. They make fresh bajji and serve. He is also a very kind guy for students. Once, I observed one student take four bajji and told the shop owner two bajji while paying. After that, I went and told him that many are cheating on him. He just replied, "I know very well thambi, he may not have money to pay, so he paid what he has. I know many are doing like this. But, its ok, Students only eating. I will get my profit anyway." He is an awesome guy.

We went on three industrial visits to Ooty, Bangalore, and Kerala. Those are unforgettable memories. I like to mention the Canteen supervisor Anna for providing special care for me a lot.  

Work

I started my work in a popular IT company in India.  During that time, I tried to learn guitar and it was not successful. (lost interest, but learned some basic chords and on how to play) . Then learned Hindi. Again, I lost my passion and learned only a few things.  

In just two years, I and my brother arranged some money and bought a Thali for my mother, a replacement for the one just she sold during our childhood. Once I went Job, my family status also slowly increased. Even relatives started treating us very respectfully. We did our sister's marriage in 2012. 

Everyone used to say dream company. My company is my dream company because they have given me all the current lifestyle and are financially settled. Whatever I earn is more than sufficient. I can't say we are very rich. But, we can able to run our smooth life what I am getting now.

USA

Once I move to the USA for my work in 2013, I was very interested to explore many places and tasting the different varieties of food. It increased my interest in food too much. Then, I focused on cooking. Now it becomes my first hobby.   Now, I am making a few recipes myself and updating this blog and my youtube channel FoodFriend. I am very interested in web design as well.

We saved some money and arranged my brother's marriage in 2014.  Later, I married Kani in 2018. I am getting all kinds of support from her now. We have a 2 years child now. Now she is our world. I got my father also to the USA once and he was very happy. 

I returned to India back in 2019. 

From my childhood, I used to help my mother to make food, grind Idli batter, cut vegetables, preparing chappathi, deep frying sweets, and snacks during festivals, make Dosa's, buy groceries and meat, etc.  Maybe that's the reason, I am getting interested in the food area.

However, even if I try many recipes at the restaurant, the homemade food is very healthy and tasty. Along with recipes, I add health blogs and food-related articles. 

Hope you like the recipes and health articles you find here. I will be thrilled to hear from you. Let me know if you like the recipes.
HAPPY COOKING!
Note: I keep updating this page to cover my life story and there are many incidents and many names to mention.
Regards,
Sam
Contact me: juskdin@gmail.com

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3 Comments

  1. hi samyraj
    ..My wife Manjusha forwarded your blog to me


    I read your story. very inspiring to know coming from such background and being successfull in career is not that easy. Its good to know how you helped your family to settle.

    All the best for your career and happy new year

    ReplyDelete