I grew up between the 50th & 75th year of Independence.
Hi, my name is Arushi
& I started Dohful Cookies along with my husband & business partner, some four years back. Some of you guys might already have read our weekly Sunday Letters and hence might know me.
But if you’re new here, I’d like to welcome you to yet another edition of the Sunday Letter, where I write to you stories about food, baking, and all sorts of things happening at Dohful - our hits & misses kinda thing.
And from time to time I also remind you to order festive treats & gifts, just like I was doing these past weeks before Rakhi. By the way, thank you so much for an incredibly overwhelming response this Rakhi.
We loved sending your gifts to your siblings & hope that were able to secure a good number of brownie points for you, to last the whole year!
Anyhoo, today’s Sunday Letter is more of a personal letter from me to you. As I said, I grew a lot between our nation’s 50th and 75th year of Independence, and that’s exactly what I want to talk to you about.
I’m specifically writing this for the ones who will be growing between the 76th & the 100th one, so if you know someone like that, do forward them this letter.
And who knows, if I’m sane enough to continue writing to you guys when the 100th year of Independence rolls around, I might do a part 2 of this episode. But without any further preamble, let's get started on this first one!
My life around the Golden Jubilee of India’s independence was straight out of a scene from one of those TVF web series based in the 90s.
Nuclear family setup, living in a city where both my mom & dad were born. All our relatives lived in the same city so every small festival was a grand celebration. My best friends were either neighbours or my cousins and the only problem in my life was my irritating as hell brother (who I love right now!).
If someone would have told me that I’d grow up to be a professor followed by starting not one but 2 food businesses, I would have seriously not believed them.
Not the food businesses part actually, that could have been fathomable as I loved to eat even as a child, but professor (well, assistant professor to be exact) would have been a real shocker!
You see, I was the most socially awkward kid, gripped with stage fright or any sort of public speaking really.
So growing from that to becoming an engineering college professor was definitely new for me. Even while I was doing it.
And as happy as I am about taking that growth path, I’m even happier about what I am today. But we’ll come back to that.
My life actually changed pretty quickly after that because one minute we were in this quaint little city of UP and the next we were placed across the country, all the way in Gujarat.
Actually, "change" is quite an understatement for what happened.
I was completely out of my comfort zone. As a 7th grader walking into a class of students who had been together since pre-1st grade, I was the outsider girl for the whole 2 years that I studied there.
TBH, maybe I never really wanted to fit in. Or maybe I was too scared to even try. In any case, those two years were the best and the worst two years of my life to date.
Worst because, well, I didn’t have any friends. Zero, zilch, nada.
And best because I turned to books to fill that giant hole in my life & my heart. I was into reading even before I landed in Rajkot, but I have never read as many books ever in my life as I read there.
For many years after Rajkot, I got into this habit of carrying a book with me at all times, wherever I went.
This habit of reading gave way to writing and writing gave way to these Sunday Letters that I write to you guys. And honestly, there is nothing I’d rather be doing than to be emptying my heart out to you guys, every single week. So utterly thankful for that!
Coming back to my life story, the Gujarat chapter closed pretty soon and thereafter began the Mumbai chapter.
Mumbai, I think is the biggest teacher in the world. Maybe even bigger than Time. Because Time still takes time to teach you things, whereas, in Mumbai, every second is when you learn something.
Remember the socially awkward kid I told you about? Well, she grew up in Mumbai.
Every single person who goes to Mumbai has so many stories of local trains, BEST buses, the Mumbai rains or even the Mumbai traffic. And so do I.
But the best of Mumbai for me was that it ignited a spark of entrepreneurship in me. I was working as Assistant Professor in an Engineering college in Mumbai when I met two entrepreneurs.
They wanted a couple of minutes of my class time to tell the students about their product and I said yes just because I was intrigued.
The rest of the details are fuzzy to me, but I clearly remember thinking, wow they are so passionate about what they’re doing. I could feel excitement in their words and could see the shine in their eyes while they were talking.
I loved my job, but there was no way in hell I was so passionate about Computer Networks as these guys were about whatever it was that they were doing.
That was the day I decided to change my career path.
Since I had no idea about entrepreneurship, had no basics of starting a business (we’re in the year 2011 right now, the startup wave in India came a few years later), I thought maybe doing MBA would help.
And joining all these dots in the past, I can say that I made the right decision.
My business co-founder (who’s also my husband) & I were in the same class at IMT Ghaziabad, did two years of college together & even started our first venture together while studying in college. You remember Sandwedges right?
So I guess, meeting those 2 entrepreneurs back in Mumbai did change my life forever!
Its been 4 years since we started Dohful, As I said, I’m really happy with where I’m at right now.
Of course, I have my fair share of regrets as well.
Could have started writing a lot sooner for instance. I remember fighting with my husband because he was pushing me to write more. Guess he saw something even I didn’t know existed.
I also wish I could have been a little more comfortable in my own skin kind of personality. I’m still a lot more reserved and shy than I let on. I mean, every time I do an Instagram live, my hands get all cold and sweaty, and I have this immense fear of not knowing what to say with so many people watching.
This is something I’m still working on. Let’s see how that goes.
But all said & done, there is one thing I’d rather not change. The trust in self that I am growing. I know I’m just one of the lacs & crores of people growing in this same period. Some grew way more than I did, and a few maybe grew less.
But every single one of these growth stories happened because India has grown between its 50th and 75th Independence year and will continue to grow between now to its 100th Independence year.
So I just want to say to all those starting their journeys or changing their paths, trust your growth path, and your country’s.
Sure, the growth in the coming years will look different than what we have seen in the yesteryears. But the belief that we are moving forward is the only way to keep moving.
The late Mr. Jhunjhunwala always used to say (may God bless his soul), “Bull-run toh 1991 se chalu hai”, meaning everything is on the rise since 1991, and I completely, wholeheartedly agree with him.
And not just him, lately I’m beginning to realize, that all successful people have believed in India's Growth Story vehemently and that has been a part of the reason for their success. So I’m trying to strengthen my trust even more.
And I ask you to join me in this.
Thank you so much for reading, it means a lot to me that you took out the precious time in your day to read about my life. I hope I was able to make it worth your while.
Before you go, I would love to hear back from you, about your life story. Or growth story. Or belief story. Or anything that you’d like to share with me. So do hit that reply button and send me your thoughts.