This 64-Year-Old Mother Proves That You’re Never Too Old to Pursue Your Passion

Starting up at 64: The story of Aai and her kitchen.

Now Rolling
2 min read

How old is too old? This 64-year-old mother proves that when it comes to pursuing your passion and starting something new, age is just a number. This Mother's Day, we take you through Nirmala Hegde's story and how her 'maa ke haath ka khaana' led her to fulfil her dreams.


Nirmala Hegde aka Aai is the chef and founder of 'Aai's Kitchen', a small home-delivery food outlet in Mumbai that was started by Aai and her son, Gautam Hegde.

It all started with Aai feeding her delicious food to the security guards in her building during the first lockdown. When the building staff couldn't leave the premises, Aai took it upon herself to provide them healthy ghar ka khaana. She'd also send food to her son's friends who were finding it tough to function without maids while working from home. Gautam's friends loved this maa ke haath ka khaana so much that they suggested Aai starts selling her food so they could order and eat that everyday.

"We made appams the first day, and we got so many orders that the flour got over. We expected an order of 20 plates, but little did we know it would go on to become 80 plates. That gave us a lot of encouragement. We earned 8,000 rupees in 2 days. For the first time in my life, I earned so much money. I was shocked but also very happy, finally I felt like even I can do something."
Nirmala Hegde, Founder and Chef, Aai's Kitchen

The journey has just begun for Aai but she is content and feels great to have started afresh at 64.

Aai's kitchen serves Maharashtrian, Goan and Karnataka cuisines. If you live alone in Mumbai and miss maa ke haath ka khaana, Aai's Kitchen is your go-place.

Camera: Sanjoy Deb & Gautam Sharma

Edit: Veeru Krishan Mohan

(This story is being republished on the occasion of Mother's Day.)

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