At first glance, she is just another female in the neighbourhood, someone you may have met somewhere.
But this is Ousumi, the YouTuber who, unlike the popular trend of creating videos in English, chose to speak in her mother tongue, Bengali, and won the hearts of many with her love for the mother tongue.
As India, or Bharat, is rising up to the need of bringing our vernacular back to the forefront, with giants such as Google and Amazon understanding the importance of the many regional languages we have, here’s a look at what Osumi is doing through her channels, and how it is creating an impact on YouTube.
I think you’re one of the only few vloggers on YouTube who regularly vlogs only in her mother tongue, right?
I’m not sure if others do this or not, but as far as vlogging in Bengali is concerned, I’ve not come across many other YouTubers who do this on a regular basis. Irrespective of what their mother tongue is, most people like to speak in English or Hindi as they feel it can get them a larger audience base.
What made you choose to speak in Bengali and not English?
Bengali is the language I’ve grown up with, the language in which I think and can comfortably create content in, so this was kind of a natural progression. Initially, I did start vlogging in English but soon realized that I was most comfortable in my mother tongue.
How did you become a YouTuber and a vlogger?
I’ve always loved cooking and trying out different kinds of food – I started this as a simple hobby on YouTube. I’d cook in my kitchen while my son helped film it, and he’d help put it up on YouTube. I didn’t know anything about editing, voice-over and filming techniques, I was a complete amateur, but my family has always been my biggest support. They kept encouraging me to share my cooking, and slowly, as my viewer count increased, I started getting more requests for recipes and for sharing cooking tips. I think this was the start of my cooking channel and my YouTube journey two years back.
How did the vlogging happen?
Vlogging was not intentional. I started off by sharing my recipes because that’s what I really know I’m good at. The idea was to create easy and interesting recipes and share it with those who may not know our traditional Indian recipes and help them try it in easy steps at home so that they too could prepare the traditional home styled food they may have missed while living away from home. Also, with growing demand, I started experimenting with international cuisine, and surprisingly, that too became a hit. While cooking, I’d also talk about other things, and my viewers would ask me questions about my life. I thought it would be nice to start a separate channel where I could actually share my life with them. Slowly, this turned into a daily vlog channel, and today, here I am.
Your vlogs are really simple, very homely and talk about day to day things. What do you think makes your viewers stay with your channel?
Yes, my vlog is a true reflection of my life. I have a very simple life, but there are loads of things I keep doing, such as experimenting with cooking, managing my home and my YouTube channels, sharing product reviews with my viewers about something I got, talking about home remedies and so on. Also, whenever I go somewhere, whether it’s to a cooking workshop or any place that I visit, I take my viewers along and try to give them as much information as I can so that it can help them in some way. I also try and incorporate as many viewer requests as I can, and read each and every comment and reply to my viewers. I think by now they too are well aware of the fact that I consider my YouTube family as part of my family.
You share your daily personal life with so many viewers out there. How do you handle any negative experiences?
I think both positive and negative are part of life and especially so when you decide to put your life out there in the public domain. YouTube is a space where anyone can come and comment, without the fear of being answerable in real life. There have been a few instances when people have commented on my lack of English speaking skills or my different accent and made fun of the fact that I speak in my mother tongue, but I was surprised to see that even before I could say anything, my regular viewers came out in my support and stood up for me. They’ve always told me that the main reason they love being a part of my channel is that it makes them feel at home.
How has being a YouTuber changed your life?
There’s been a lot of change – the biggest change is that now when I go out, some people have actually come up to me and greeted me, and told me how they love seeing my recipes and vlogs. In fact, there’ve also been instances where my YouTube followers have especially come to meet me, and some of them have even brought their family along! And yes, this love is mutual, so much so that the viewers from my cooking channel, Bengali Home Kitchen, even requested me to cook a particular dish for them and we shared a home cooked meal together and vlogged about it too!
Did you ever think of turning your love for cooking into a business model?
I didn’t plan it but this was something that happened thanks to my YouTube family. I’ve always been part of various cooking workshops conducted by master chefs and have incorporated those recipes in my own way in my channels. Seeing this, a lot of my followers started asking me for particular dishes. Now I take this up on a professional level by cooking or baking as per customized orders.
How is a day in Ousumi’s life?
It’s all there out on the vlog! But that apart, each day is super busy and yes, I try and have fun too. I try and capture as much of my day as I can in my vlogs, and by now, starting from our strays to my son’s exam schedule to my clothing, daily groceries, kitchen setup, meal plan, my extended family, my neighbourhood and almost everything about my life – it’s all out there. No doubt that my days are super busy, what with creating daily content, cooking, editing, uploading, managing my home and all, but yes, this is something that I truly enjoy, and even though it’s really tiring, the love of my audience keeps me going.
So are you proud to flaunt your mother tongue on the internet?
Of course! I’m proud of my language. I think there’s no shame in speaking in your own language, rather than trying to speak in English just for the heck of it, or because you’re worried that others will feel your education is not up to the mark. Having an accent means you know another language other than English, so that’s a good thing, isn’t it? I’m happy that my viewers have accepted me as I am, and I’m happy I can reach out to so many viewers who are more comfortable in viewing my content than watching content that is created in English.
Any tips for those who want to get into YouTube or want to create content in their mother tongue?
If you decide to give importance to your mother tongue, go for it. India is home to people who speak different languages and dialects, and while English is no doubt popular, there is a much larger segment of people out there who would really feel comfortable and happy seeing someone create content in a language they are most fluent in. Also, if you want to become a YouTuber, go for it. You can learn everything online these days, so don’t hold yourself back, but start creating content and be true to yourself and to your audience, and you will surely receive the love and support of people out there.