Sunday, April 1, 2018

Stinkin' rich

On Saturday the 31st of March, Mian had the first sales from his bakery 'Pao'. We went to two places with bread in our car, and he sold bread to those who had read his email announcing where we would be and when.

This  day has been a long time in the making. Arranging the simplest things like reliable fuel and ingredients has been incredibly difficult. To top it off, he has had to fit in this work as and when he could find time from his other work.

And he has done it.

 I am incredibly proud of him. Our neighbours? They were jubilant. Scarcely half an hour after he sent out that email, the first replies came pouring in offering congratulations,  expressing joy, placing orders for bread.

One friend, the first to reply, wrote that she wished us well but would not be there on Saturday; she was leaving for Delhi at dawn. No matter, we said. There is always another time. But on Friday evening, she and her husband called. We can't leave without your bread, they said. Have you baked some yet?

Yes, Mian had.

And so  those two, in the middle of all the work that leaving home for a week entails, walked down to buy bread that they would then lug to Delhi. Because Pao was opening, and how could they miss it?

The happiness from that visit carried us to the first halt, where very soon,a party sprouted. They all came. All the people that we have known over the years and have been looking forward to the bakery. They brought friends. They stopped and chatted and gossiped, and shared their delight that they now have a fine bakery in their little mountain village.

My heart overflowed with joy and gratitude when  a large car overflowing with a larger German Shepherd pulled up. This was A,an octogenarian friend of ours and who I want to be when I grow up. She had come all the way from the next village to buy a few loaves from Mian. She bakes bread at home, we were planning to stop by her home and drop off a loaf or two anyway. There was no need for her to come. But she did. Of course I have to come, your bakery has opened! she said.

At the next stop, we had miscalculated times and realised that it was lunchtime when we were there..very few people would come. We were not the only ones who realised our gaffe with the timing. A neighbour came at the start of the time when we had said we would be there, and stayed on, ostensibly chatting, for the next hour till others showed up. We had no time to feel nervous.

And there is another dear couple who have been a support since the start. They were a large part of how I overcame my fear of tearing up such  roots as I had set down in Dehradun and moving up here, and have been close always. In all the years that the bakery was taking shape, they have been our go-to for  advice, for encouragement, and for venting.

And I knew they would not be able to come. They live far away, they make their own bread, they are crazy busy, and they have no transport. Besides which, they had been so much a part of the setting up and are so much a part of the future plans, I imagined that this one day was not important in the scheme of things. And I was content.

Precisely ten minutes before we were scheduled to wrap up, Mian's phone rang. I heard his answers.. He said that 'the day had gone well'. 'we sold most of the bread, very little is remaining'. He listed the loaves that were left. And then he began laughing, "you are too much!"

He hung up and told me what had brought that smile to his face. "He told us to wait a bit, he's taking all the remaining bread. We are not to drive back home with any bread in the boot." It is then that I teared up.

I am both  humbled and euphorically happy to see the friends that we have. Friends who genuinely care about us, who take the effort to show their support and love.  I am also extremely proud  of  Mian; friendship and love both need to  be earned. If he has such love showered on him, it is  because he too gives it.

In all probability, the bakery will do well. With Mian's knowledge and our friends' appreciation,  with his hard work and their support, it hardly has any option but to do well. But in my opinion, we are already stinking rich with friends.

5 comments:

sridevi nair said...


Hi Chicu! I have been an ardent follower of your blog because someday i hope to be economically sufficient and live like you in the mountains :) Can you please share the bread recipe..i would like to pretend for now Im making it under a tree :)

Chicu Lokgariwar said...

Hey Sridevi! So glad you follow my blog!
Mian bakes naturally fermented breads..He has adapted his yeast starter recipes from Jefrey Hamelman's book 'Bread'. Here's a discussion about it: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/44692/help-hamelmans-vermont-sourdoughstarter-maintenance

I usually do a simple recipe called 'rustic' bread, also by Hamelman..it uses yeast,and a preferment. The nice thing is that this is a very forgiving recipe, so later you can play with increasing the atta (with a corresponding increase in water) or adding other flours.
Here's a description: http://www.thefreshloaf.com//recipes/rusticbread

Enjoy!

sridevi nair said...

oh thanks!!! lets hope I get around it now :) a big kiss to your doggies

nadi said...

It is not cold at all, up there on your mountain.
My heart is filled with happiness for the love you are surrounded by, and with a reassurance that my sister and her husband are among good people.
Thank you for naming your bakery after what for me, was a basic food for the people of my childhood town, something that 'went with anything', and also a symbol of the secular and composite culture that we were fortunate to grow up in.

nadi said...

It is not cold at all, up there on your mountain.
My heart is filled with happiness for the love you are surrounded by, and with a reassurance that my sister and her husband are among good people.
Thank you for naming your bakery after what for me, was a basic food for the people of my childhood town, something that 'went with anything', and also a symbol of the secular and composite culture that we were fortunate to grow up in.