Story of a Mom Baker
“The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want, and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either”
Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist
Hi, I’m Shilpa Bhargava. Though a “software professional” by education, I quit the industry after working for two years. I chose staying with my (then) new husband over having a demanding job and a long distance marriage. Several wrong jobs, numerous cities, and two lovely babies later, I took to cooking. What started out as a means to getting away from ennui, has now become a fulfilling profession, albeit still in its infancy.
I always loved cooking and experimenting with food. I did not want my being a vegetarian to be a disadvantage and an excuse for eating the same kind of food every day. Though salads and soups were always my favorites, baking started giving me a lot of satisfaction – playing with different flavor combinations, seeing my cakes rise, the awesome smell of freshly baked cookies, frosting the cakes and cupcakes to give them an appealing look, and most of all, the look of excitement on the faces of my children and the thumbs up from my husband.
But though I got encouraging feedback from friends and family, and harbored a secret desire to one day open my own eatery, I never had the courage to take a step in that direction. There was always the fear that I’d fail because this was not my field of training, and also that I’d somehow be neglecting my duties towards the family if I ventured out. To be truthful, a lot of these fears were my own, and some of them were passed on by well-meaning family members. But I had also reached a stage in my life when I felt I needed to do something besides waiting for the children and husband to get home. Not just to feel less dependent on my husband, but I feared rusting my brain and craved the much needed interaction with humans my age 😉
It is at this point, in June 2013, that a dear friend, Dipika Trehan, suggested I try selling my goodies online on www.imly.in Unknowingly Dipika gave me the nudge that was required to give wings to the dream that was Brownie Point. Since there was no harm in registering, I started with having just two items on my online “shop”, and with the newfound confidence, I spread the word amongst my friends in my apartment complex about my new venture.
Being optimistic, but also realistic, I did not expect to be inundated with orders immediately. But it was here that another friend, Divya Sharma Vernenker, gave me a fresh boost of confidence. Receiving the first order from her gave me such a high! She even gave me suggestions about how to increase my reach, where to source material from, and how to innovate. The rest, as they say, is history. As much joy as the first order gave me, it is even better to get repeat orders. That tells me that my effort was appreciated.
Though I am nowhere near where I’d like to be, it’s a start. And I feel getting to the start is the toughest. Whether we’ve never worked before but want to, or are on a sabbatical, we keep setting conditions on the day when we start “working” (for monetary gains). We do not realize that there is no better time than now. The longer we wait, the lesser time we leave ourselves to fail and start again. Because there are no fail proof (ad)ventures. To use a cliché, if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
Brownie Point and my journey till now have taught me a few things. They are not restricted only to home baking, but are applicable to all of us who doubt ourselves and fear thinking of ourselves occasionally.
- Each one of us has a hidden talent waiting to be noticed. Sometimes all it takes for that special quality to get discovered is some introspection and faith in oneself
- It is never too late to follow your dream. Just don’t stop dreaming
- Persist. It’s very easy to quit when things don’t go your way, but the rewards of labor are sweet and sense of achievement high
- Give it time. Things may seem difficult at first, but you’ll get a firm foothold soon. Don’t lose hope before you’ve given it your all
- ALWAYS be open to feedback, criticism and constructive suggestions.
“When you take the step towards your dreams, you will be met with fears because you have never travelled this way before. As you go, you will discover that you had nothing to fear. Through overcoming your fears, you give those that follow you hope that if they pursue their dreams, they will achieve their dreams”
E’yen A. Gardner
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