She was hungry. Hungry to bring the world the rich yet simple ethnic Assamese Cuisine. She loves Assamese food with its variations. She not only loves and enjoys cooking but also loves to experiment. The kitchen is her workshop where she experiments many concoctions. Her husband is her inspiration; her children are her backbone. Last, but not the least, she loves exotic Assamese food. Jyoti (Rita) Das was born in Shillong, the then capital of Assam. She was the eldest of the three children born to Bibha and Bhola Nath Saikia. Her father wore many hats -- an highly ranked police officer, an electronic engineer, an educationalist and a social worker. Her mother Bibha is a home-maker and an avid social activist.
The extraordinary life and experiences of Rita is reflected in all her work. In fact her birth to the Saikia's family and her father's love of Assamese food was instrumental in developing her penchant for Assamese cuisine. Every meal in the Saikia household is a culinary delight, cooked meticulously in ethnic Assamese tradition, but exquisite to the rest of the world. Her subsequent marriage to Ashok Das, descendent of one of the early settlers of Guwahati only added to her experience in cooking. At his ancestral home in Jorpukhri-par, she came across different preparations unique in lower Assam.
She is an imminent and popular food writer of Assam. Renowned writer Sjt Homen Borgohain, commented her as Rondhan Kola Patiyashi. An avid social activist that she is, she travelled to different pockets of Assam; sometimes even to places less treaded.In the process she got the opportunity to experience different dishes and pick up the fine nuances of these lesser known places.Her knowledge of Assamese cuisine stems from her profound understanding of Assamese culture and tradition. Her other works on Assamese culinary is comprised of Aponar Akholot Chinese Byanjon (whose third edition has been released successfully), Amar thalua Byanjan (second edition has been released),and Manxhar Vividh Byanjon (about to release fourth edition). She has brilliantly incorporated age old indigenous recipes to modern contemporary ones without losing the essence of Assamese cuisine in her series Aita ma aru mur akholor pora- Manxor Juti, Kharor Juti and Mithar Juti. Her sincere and dedicated work has been widely appreciated and loved. She also regularly writes food-columns, short stories and articles for various magazines like Xadin, Prantik, Nandini,Sambhar (Pratidin) etc.Her close friends and family members are privy to the fact that she makes excuisite wine from home grown fruits,vegetables and flowers. It is one of her favourite hobby and pass time. Only if you happen to be in her good-books, you may have the privilege of tasting her wine!