Small Family Business Gives Gift That Will Keep On Giving

Reena’s mother

Small family business, Spice Kitchen brought comfort amidst loss to daughter Reena and her daughters after losing their mother and grandmother.

Losing a loved one is a deeply saddening event and keeping a lost loved ones memory alive is something Reena was determined to do after the sudden loss of her mother which impacted herself and her daughters. Reena’s mother owned a sari for every occasion, says Reena, and these became a symbolic gesture to honour a mother and grandmother’s garments and memory. Small family business, Spice Kitchen stepped in to provide Reena with a beautiful way of honouring her mother’s memory – for her and her daughters. The business specialise in award winning spice tins wrapped in hand sewn silk saris and gifted the family with a special spice tin wrapped in their beloved grandmother’s sari.

Reena says, ‘Losing mum devastated my family and me. Mum was so vibrant and full of life. She loved family, and in particular, she always loved to cook and bring people together. She was famous for her masala stuffed aubergine and potato curry.’ Clearing out her mother’s belongings took a long time for Reena to feel able to do as well as worrying about what to do with the hundreds of beautifully embroidered saris used for weddings and family gatherings.

An Indian Spice tin wrapped in Reena’s mother’s sari

Reena reflects, ‘It was around this time that I saw a Facebook post from Sanjay at Spice Kitchen. He asked whether anyone had any saris that they would like to donate to his small family business. Spice Kitchen was recycling old saris and using them to wrap their spice tins. From the moment I saw the tins on the website and read more about Sanjay’s business, I just knew this was what I needed to do. The tins were beautiful, and everything about the company made me feel connected to them. Mum’s saris would be recycled and given a new lease of life. It was perfect.’

What Reena didn’t expect was to receive an Indian Spice tin in the post wrapped in her favourite sari that belonged to her mother. Reena comments, ‘Sanjay had specifically arranged for my favourite sari to be sewed and wrapped around a traditional Masala Dabba.’

What brings the greatest joy to Reena is the fact that there are homes across the world that have tins wrapped in her mother’s beautiful sari material and are a credit to her memory. Reena adds, ‘She would have loved it, particularly the link with cooking and family, which I know is key to Sanjay’s work.’

‘I love how this all came about so organically, with Sanjay’s post popping up on my timeline at just the right moment. Everything was handled so sensitively too’. Reena says, ‘I’ve since met Sanjay and his mum at a food market, and it felt like we had a special connection, like we’ve known one another for years. The whole experience has just helped me with the healing process after losing mum, and I’m really grateful we met.’

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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