The lip-smacking turnaround

The lip-smacking turnaround

Passion and a will to succeed for the sake of their little daughter, had made Shrawani and Nikhil take up a road they had never trodden before.

That usual excitement of heading back home was painfully missing this time. Their clothes and other essentials were being packed. Other household goods, including their beloved 4-wheeler had already been sold. Nikhil and Shrawani were moving back from the US for good.

“Mumma, I want my dear panda to travel with us,” said 6 year old Gowri, holding her favourite stuffed toy tightly.

“Of course, dear. He goes where we go,” Shrawani said and caressed her daughter’s hair.

Nikhil had been laid off from his job. Having not been able to find another in the stipulated time, Nikhil and Shrawani were left with no option but to move back to their hometown in India.

Later, at the airport, Gowri sensed her mum and dad’s worry and sat silently, holding Shrawani’s hand.

Shrawani was lost in her memories. She was remembering their yearly sojourns to India. How much laughter and excitement it brought to little Gowri and here she was, unusually quiet.

“We must be really careful with our expenditures now. Every penny matters,” said Nikhil, with a heavy breath and clinched fist.

Just then, Gowri wanted to buy a new doll from her favourite shop at the airport but her parents said no. Shrawani could not control her tears looking at the pale and saddened face of her daughter on being denied this customary ‘shopping’ at the airport.

As their gloomy future loomed large on Shrawani, she paused; the airport television started airing the interview of a 78-year-old grandmom. The inspiring elderly had started her own home-cooked food supply kitchen after suffering two heart attacks. Worse, the veteran had lost all her three children. Now that her grandson had met a fatal and debilitating accident, she had taken it upon herself to sustain the grandson and bring back his confidence as he had lost his job too.

Suddenly, Shrawani froze. Something was churning inside her. She thought of their entire roller coaster journey of ten years in the US – their comfortable yet hard working life, their loving friends and a close knit community. What had happened to them was sad but the only thing that they had lost was a job.

Nikhil looked at her with a questioning face but Shrawani told him it was nothing. Later that week, as they settled in their family home in India, she sat Nikhil down and shared what she had put a lot of thought into.

“You remember I always had this urge to cook authentic Bengali cuisine for others,” she asked, confidence and passion dripping from her voice.

Nikhil looked up, surprised. He had been spending most of his time on the laptop or phone, job hunting, but with no success so far. The desperation was mounting with each passing day. He was losing hope and clinging to a fine thread of optimism in the form of his family. Hearing the rest of her idea, he smiled.

Steadily, Shrawani started rolling out phuchkas and rustling up ghughni. Authentic flavours and lip smacking taste soon landed her many orders from friends and family. Excited and passionate, she left no stone unturned to cater to her customer’s demands and tastes.

As the orders increased, Shrawani decided to hire a few helping hands and even increased her serving menu. Now, she was making scrumptious jhalmuri, chop, and kathi rolls too.

Nikhil was pleasantly surprised to see Shrawani making a hefty earning for all three of them. Seeing her hard work and dedication, he decided to join her and they started working as a team. With an indomitable spirit to succeed, Shrawani and Nikhil were now planning to open a small outlet to serve their customers apart from the home deliveries.

One day, an overjoyed Gowri ran into the house from her school proudly flaunting the medal she had won in a poem recitation. Nikhil lifted her in his arms, beaming with pride. “Let us go shopping. There is a doll that wants to be friends with our Gowri,” he said.

Shrawani could not hold her tears. Nikhil had remembered how they hadn’t been able to gift Gowri that doll from the airport. But today, they could do so.

A lip-smacking turnaround of fortunes had made it possible.

Edited by: Runa Mukherjee Parikh




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