When Asha suffered a severe stroke at the age of 40 her life was changed forever. A classroom assistant and mother of four children, including two under the age of five, Asha collapsed one day at home and spent the next year in hospital.
The road to recovery was a long one. Her mobility was severely restricted and she had lost the ability to speak so communication was limited to flash cards and using a buzzer. Even when she was allowed to go home, Asha remained bed bound for another eleven months and after regaining the power of speech, she lost it temporarily again when she contracted Lyme disease.
Eight years on, Asha, a bubbly, friendly woman from Musselburgh, is confined to a wheelchair and is trying to rebuild her confidence and get out more by attending our community cook clubs.
Asha speaks five languages, used to work with bilingual children in schools as well as supporting children with special needs. In addition, Asha is a talented cook in her own right as well as being the sister of the well-known TV chef, Tony Singh.
“I was never an indoor person,” said Asha, who goes to our Thursday cook club at Sandy’s Community Centre. “But after the stroke I was embarrassed to be seen in a wheel chair.”
It was Asha’s sister who persuaded her to start going out. “She said ‘for right now these are your legs and for now this is the way it is.’ She told me not to be embarrassed and to get out so I started taking the kids to the park,” said Asha.
Before the stroke Asha taught traditional Indian cooking at First Step, a community project in Musselburgh, and she recently led an Indian cookery class at our Sandy’s cook club which runs from 11am to 1pm every Thursday at the community centre at 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue.
“I was brought up by my Bengali mother in a large family and everything was made from scratch. My brother, Tony, is one of the Spice Men. Well, I’m a spice woman,” said Asha, who has also attended our Hibs Gamechanger Cook Club held on Mondays. “When I taught cooking I didn’t just show people the spices, I wanted them to smell, touch and taste them.”
Attending our cook clubs has been an important way for Asha to get out more and meet new people. Would you or someone you know benefit from coming along too? Our cook clubs are free and open to all and there is always a welcoming atmosphere for new attendees. We run 11 cook clubs across Edinburgh and the Lothians, soon expanding into Fife. Find a cook club near you by clicking here.