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‘5 things cooking has taught me about life’

Subodh Dubey, Group CIO, BILT, on the life skills he’s learnt pursuing his passion in the kitchen.
By Pooja Paryani

Subodh Dubey’s life has been governed by two passions—IT and cooking. While these two might seem polarising, they really aren’t. His career of over 22 years in IT has been enhanced by the skills and lessons he’s learnt in the kitchen. Those skills have clearly made a difference as Subodh was recently awarded as a Manufacturing Icon at CIO Power List 2016.

“I was born to working parents, so learning to cook was a necessity,” says Subodh. “I used to cook whenever we came home from school, and my brother and I were hungry. I used to cook something innovative for us. Following traditional recipes was not my style. Once, I got the idea to make a banana sandwich with Indian spices and my brother really liked the innovation. That was the day I realised that cooking is my passion and that I can really do well in the kitchen.” This passion for cooking has sustained to this day and Subodh has also won a cooking contest at work. If given a chance he would like to change careers and become a chef in the future. He’s also considering participating in a cooking contest on TV. Here he tells us about five life lessons his passion has taught him.

1. Cultivate patience
“While cooking you have to have patience. Different ingredients take different amounts of time to cook. The process of cooking also takes time; you cannot rush if you want desirable results. So cooking has taught me how to be patient. I have learnt to be patient at work after executing a plan, and have realised that if I want good results I need to be calm and wait it out. I even need to be patient while observing people’s reaction to the food I’ve cooked and take their feedback; this applies to work too, be accepting of criticism, advice and opinions.”

2. De-stressing is important
“There’s stress in every job, coupled with big responsibilities. I get stressed out at work due to the endless functions I have to perform. To deal with this, I cook. It’s a great stress-buster for me. I go to the kitchen, take out my ingredients and start cooking. It frees my mind from all the business stress and helps me get relaxed. Cooking requires you to be completely involved with your mind and body. So you tend to forget other issues for a while. And then comes the appreciation from your loved ones, which makes you feel even better.”

3. Teamwork can be fun
“Cooking also teaches you the value of teamwork. When I’m cooking I get completely engrossed in the activity. There have been occasions when I’ve taken others along with me on the ride. One New Year’s eve, we were at a house party with friends. I told all the men to join me in the kitchen and asked the women to be in charge of drinks, and take a break from the kitchen. Together we made dishes that everyone loved so much that I was asked to cook them at other parties later. That evening I learnt a little more about the dynamics of working in a team; how to use different people’s strengths to get the desired results.”

4. Make time for family
“These days I generally cook on weekends. My kids ask me to make breakfast for them; they love my food. Though I cook for them they also come into the kitchen to help me. So it becomes a family weekend activity and I really enjoy their company. My wife also joins us sometimes and suddenly we are all in the kitchen enjoying cooking. These activities strengthen my relationship with them and help me value the time we spend together. It’s important to take time out for your family.”

5. Learn to think outside the box
“I like to create innovative dishes, which means I have to think along different lines. I’ve made dosas from rice and poha, which my kids love more than traditional dosas. I stay on my toes and keep innovative to be interesting. This has also taught me to also do the same while thinking of ideas at work, to be a better innovator. Since my mind is used to experimenting, I’m able to think of different ways to solve problems at work.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Health & Fitness, Work Buzz

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