I will start and conclude this piece with great thanks to an entrepreneur & idealist,Tarun Shyam, a highly motivated young man with a keen sense of class and quality who along with his most capable business partner and friend, Bhoomika Ghaghada have ventured to start a smart, state of the art online magazine B-Change – We Need to Talk in the most happening city, Dubai. This magazine has also galvanized me into action from my blogging stupor – Let me get to the back story now.
Quite honestly, I never knew I had it in me to become an entrepreneur. I am still very much a work in progress but with each passing day, my heart eggs my mind to think that there is more to me than I have revealed and that my friends, is the most emancipating thought. Rome was not built in a day, or so the saying goes. Neither was my dream to start my own business. But the idea definitely stemmed my commitment to one idea – I don’t want to work for someone else and be bound by their rules and pricing of my capabilities. I want to be my own boss – Simple as that.
From there, with three kids. two in high school and a toddler, I started my blog. It seemed like a perfectly legitimate thing to do with a child at home needing constant caring. The stolen moments I got to write or create a new recipe gave me additional thrills. This topped with the photos of my creation and the ultimate release of being able to put it on a template and see it published I thought filled my cup of satisfaction, and then some. Until, I learned to blog hop and leave comments, learn some tips, get more ideas and ultimately had some amazing women stop by my blog leave extremely charitable comments on my foods and gave me the validation I needed from the world which was now my new domain, no pun intended there :).
About 200 + recipes and many family and friends dinner hostings later, I got the idea of working on the weekend at the city market, when my husband would be home with our youngest. I recruited my older two to be my partners and then seriously overnight my vocation had begun.
Now let me tell you, regardless of the numerous articles on being vegan, gluten free, or even vegetarian mushrooming in each magazine, in reality, there is but a handful of people who are really practicing any form of vegetarianism! Most practice a fishy-vegetarianism, pun intended. I also discovered a myth from talking to many people at the market- they think most Indians are vegetarians – I have explained at least to a 100 people that the majority of them are not.
Let me also tell you that trying to break ground with south Indian food was and continues to be a task and a half because most people assume I am selling samosas! NO – not another one!…my mind protests each time the question is posed. When I first started I had no idea I could use the pegs of the fad words Gluten Free or Vegan to advertise my masala dosas. And I pride myself on inventing dosa flavors that have at once boosted sales and applause from not just among my blogger friends but my market folks and especially my family.
Creativity is the mother of invention
From the feedback and constant questions about whether I had a restaurant in town or suggestions of places I could do take-outs from, I, with the support of my family, decided there was more to put out than Dosas and a Saturday gig at the Market. Early this is year Suvaiyana was born – a baby full of flavor and spice – which I place at the feet of my mom as homage to her phenomenal culinary pleasures. She has and will always be the inspiration behind everything I do from being a mom to understanding that I have empowered myself as the ultimate feminist by taking the homemaker role to what should be its natural end – success and satisfaction which equals self-esteem and happiness.
Writing my children’s picture book, now a fully funded project, thanks to my sister & brother-in-law, family and friends, happened on the side. When I was and am not blogging/ now cooking, I was with my baby/toddler/little girl and her vast imagination and unbelievable intelligence, had me fascinated and I tried to keep notes, mental more than physical, of all of it. And one day fingertips hit keyboard and before I knew it I had about 5 little anecdotes drafted. Polishing and refining happened after I passed it by family and some dear friends who found the stories charming and very publishable. And after going through the loops of peer editing which raised hope, I realized the legitimacy of self-publshing and with the new crowd-funding platforms that my agent educated me about, it became a very doable project. And in November, my baby will be delivered, by the grace of Love.
At the business end, my products were getting more validation with the interest from the health food giant, Whole Foods. While the process of entry has been long and arduous, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and possible victory on the other side. This has me tapping other local resources which are known for quality foods. So much in the pipeline and my heart is full of anticipation and thoughts of expansion, of the line and the retail. So much so, I am opening my own store on this very website soon… but not yet.
Just as I saw myself doing more than talking with my typing fingers on my website, I started feeling sad at neglecting my blog. But rescue came in a most refreshing and creative package in the form of my nephew. Wise as he is at such a young age, he tapped preexisting resources such as myself for columns for B-Change. Sometimes when you are in a slump the right person, at the right time makes you respond and I must thank my nephew for his rescue and recovery mission. I am back on the saddle and as they always do, deadlines keep me invested. I had made the change from seasoned blogger to budding entrepreneur, but I made the change and he has helped me be that change.
Life never has a dull moment, if you don’t want it to. In three weeks I will lose my right arm to the joys of college. She has been an anchor a tough critic and the greatest resource from making excel sheets to keeping me in line about what to make and how much. But this young girl has her life and dreams to pursue and I know she’s got the wings of a condor and will fly high to achieve her goals.