Farewell, Grandpa Kitchen. The Whiffs of Your Kindness Continue to Spread Beyond YouTube

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Farewell, Grandpa Kitchen. The Whiffs of Your Kindness Continue to Spread Beyond YouTube

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

In a world full of Logan Pauls and Pewdiepies, Narayana Reddy looked nothing like the popular perception of a YouTuber. He didn’t make loud vlogs, review video games, or get into subscriber-count battles with T-Series. Simply known as “Grandpa”, Reddy was a sweet-faced, elderly man who achieved internet fame for his YouTube channel Grandpa Kitchen, where he cooked banquet-sized meals for the orphans and underprivileged kids of Hyderabad. This week, the news broke that Reddy had died at the age of 73, after touching countless lives with his work, defined by his credo: Loving, Caring, Sharing.Reddy launched Grandpa Kitchen in August 2017. In a span of just two years, he garnered over six million subscribers. Most of the 200-plus videos on the channel show a lungi-clad Reddy sitting in a field and cooking huge meals with the help of his grandkids. His menu included a variety of dishes ranging from chicken biryani, pizza, burgers, and chicken lollipops, to desserts such as Oreo-and-Kitkat chocolate cake and red velvet cake. 

In an interview with CNN, Reddy’s grandnephew Srikanth said that the idea for the channel came from his Grandpa cooking gargantuan meals for the family when they visited him during the holidays. Srikanth suggested doing this on a larger scale and cooking food for the entire community, especially the local orphans and other underprivileged people living on the outskirts of Hyderabad. As the channel gained popularity, he and his other family members quit their day jobs and began helping out Grandpa Reddy. 

Grandpa Kitchen was started with the intention to “entertain people by cooking food and donate the proceeds to charities,” as its bio on fundraising website Patreon states. Today, it has become a movement of sorts. The charitable channel does more than just feed children; they also provide clothing, school supplies, and birthday gifts to local orphanages.

Every video uploaded on Reddy’s channel starts with him reciting his mantra of “Loving, Caring, Sharing. This is my family.” He is seen chopping the ingredients himself, and using his limited English to explain the recipe to his viewers. And he garnished every dish he prepared with the glowing, ever-present smile on his face, and a distinctive voice that always said, “Mixwell”. At the end of each video, the food was packed and taken to local orphanages where children were shown enjoying delicious meals. In a country, where even the rich are measured about their philanthropy, it is people like Reddy who restore our fate in humanity. They are the kind of superheroes we need.  

Grandpa Kitchen cooked meals for children in India but whiffs of his kindness spread worldover – from New Zealand to The Netherlands.

Even as he was nearing his end, Grandpa Kitchen was not the one to stop. In recent weeks, Reddy had not been feeling well and had asked his teammates to continue with his mission of solidarity. He last appeared in a live session video that was uploaded a week ago, where he appears frail and is seen visibly ailing. Yet, you can’t miss the faint smile on his face. 

Days later, he passed away on October 27. We learnt of his death three days later, when an emotional video was uploaded on his channel, showing him being laid to rest after his last rites were performed by his family members. Srikanth Reddy, the grandnephew of the YouTube star, later informed his fans that his great-uncle had been suffering from a recurring lung infection before his death. 

Grandpa Kitchen cooked meals for children in India but whiffs of his kindness spread worldover – from New Zealand to The Netherlands. “Rest in peace Grandpa, my deepest condolences to his family, he is taking care of them from heaven”, said one commenter from Spain. “Rest in peace. May the Lord Jesus comfort the family” said another one from Portugal. His catchphrase “Loving. Sharing. Caring”  has been translated in different languages. “Lieben. Tielen. Sorgen. Rest in peace from: Mexico,” wrote one of his followers on the channel’s YouTube page. It’s been two days since we learnt about Grandpa Kitchen’s death, but the tributes haven’t ceased. 

It’s like the world has lost their good old gramps

At a time when the majority of Indians are going to bed on empty stomachs (the country is ranked 102 out of 117 countries on Global Hunger Index), people like Grandpa Kitchen are a ray of hope at the end of a dark tunnel. For teaching us that to make a difference, sometimes all you need is a little Loving, Caring, and Sharing.

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