Covid Brought Her Luck, She Became A Baker From A Home Maker
Covid changed lives of people world over like never in the past. While most sectors shut down, the economy slowed down and people locked themselves in their homes, scared and depressed, this 47-year-old from Jaipur and happily married for 18-years to a Lucknow man found “आपदा में अवसर” (opportunity in a calamity) like very few did or could!
Meet Shaifali Bhargava, resident of Rohtas Enclave in Indiranagar, the Covid pandemic ringed in unprecedented happiness and professional success like she never tasted in the past. Her journey from a home maker to a qualified baker started as the dreaded Coronavirus singed the world. A keen gardener she had found a new hobby which soon turned into a passion.
Talking to TNA, the Gemini recalled how she was at her wits end handling the daily chores at home, children and husband being indoors 24x7 for almost two years at a stretch. A casual conversation turned into a serious one when she broached the subject of taking up some online baking classes. Her husband Akshay, a financial consultant and advisor, initially liked the idea but was apprehensive, in his own words, of “a neglected home and family”.
Shaifali however assured him that she would handle both the worlds comfortably. Then came another word of advise from the financial advisor hubby: work for name not money! The baker, who formerly, pre-nuptial, worked for ITC, now has more than 800 cakes to her credit, She shares how online classes on social media helped her transform from an edgy baker to a confident one who was not only ready to test the waters but also add her own spin.
And thus came out bouquet cakes, cup cakes, customised cakes for occasions, jelly cakes, fresh fruit ones, tea time cakes of which her almond rose cocktail sells like hot cakes, literally!
Pepped up by her two sons - Ansh (16) and Vedansh (13) and also her “progressive mother-in-law” Saroj Bhargava, she now adds her own R&D to the cakes she whips and bakes. her latest jelly cakes with dollops of fresh fruits, is an instant best seller.
And so the otherwise sleepy Bhargav household - Sajag Villa, has lots churning out from the oven. The client list in increasing manifold and so is the goodwill.
So whats the secret?
A brimming Shaifali says the most important ingredient of her baking is “love” something which is “in abundance and not without a measuring cup”. “I love my work, money is secondary” she says while showing the compliments that flood her mailbox and WhatsApp inbox. Nida Rizvi, a satisfied customer calls her cake “better than the best of Lucknow bakeries”.
The roadblocks…biggest challenges
Well, the biggest is my health as I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. It hampers a lot of my working and leaves me drained at the end of a long day. The second is to take care of an aged mom-in-law, two growing sons and a busy and demanding husband.
While Vedansh, the younger one helps her in more than one ways in cooking, Ansh, the elder one contributes by studying on his own and “being a good boy”. Akshay says he is both happy and proud at the achievements of Shaifali that too in such a short period.
“I am indeed a proud husband but with expanding work am also worried if this would jeopardise our family time and many things linked to it” he says.
My friends and family both. My husband is understanding, kids behaved and my saasu ma at ease with my baking, she says. Since my sasural people are foodies, they encourage anything in that field. So I did not face the typical dilemma most Indian wannabe entrepreneur bahu’s would face, she quips. I would also like to thank my guru Anuraka Sircar who gave me wings to fly - under whose able guidance I have become a certified baker.
I treat my cakes not only with love but also with a lot of care that the things that go in are fresh, the best quality and also healthy. Many agree. She put in zero trans-fat cream in the cakes, sugar free, the most expensive fresh fruits and also has bakes some of her own creations - flaxseed cakes which are low calorie and healthy.
How is it like earning after almost 16 years?
The feeling is heavenly. I make a good amount of money now and am not only able to do what I want to out of that money, fund my own venture but also from time to time pay for the needs of my children. I have no helpers and my sons help me a lot and I am a proud mom when I pay them some pocket money for their hard earned labour.
I don't see things changing much in near future. I will keep it from home and low key till my kids are on their own and settle in life but yes at some point of time after that I want to run a bakery of my own and dish out my best creations for my clients and loved ones.
The world around you is waiting for more, go girl go!
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