Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Having my cake and beating it, too

My boyfriend -- we’re still together, dragging our feet, assuring each other: don’t worry, I won’t marry you, your life is not doomed, hang in there etc – has a bakery. It’s in Gurgaon, five minutes from my house and called Cake Away.

It’s a delivery only thing. (You get the idea of sounding like ‘take-away’. Bit forced, but bit late. Send the bouquets to me. I came up with it.) It’s not a retail space like an Angels in my Kitchen or a Bagel’s Cafe, so you can’t sit there, sip coffee and feed on brownies but you can order the brownies and the brownies will come to you, walnuts and all, secured in a humongous thermocol box with ice packs and gun men.

Kidding. Ignore the gun men line.


The bakery has been up for a year and for a year I have had a problem with it. Refer gun men jibe. But whenever I’m asked, ‘What is your problem with his bakery, woman?!’ I mumble, make rude dismissive sounds and give caustic, nonsensical replies. I say things I don’t mean or believe. How does an engineer and a musician bring himself to care about the fluffiness of flour? See? Not nice. Especially not to someone you care about and date and of whom one is sigh 'posed to be encouraging and supportive.

It gets ugly. He gets hurt. I get vocal. Nothing helps. If and blah we split, he will attribute my whole hearted lack of support as one reason why the deal soured. I won’t blame him.


Hey, why d'you guys break up?

Oh, we couldn’t see eye to eye on the divinity of the chocolate cakes.

I judge me. Look at it. I have a problem with a bakery, a bakery – it’s not like he’s an arms dealer or a contract killer and I want him to give up his sexy Sopranos act so we can settle into domestic harmony. It’s a bloody bakery! Eggs and cocoa not grease and crime – hardly the stuff break ups are made of. Seeing the light, and staring it down, I say to myself, shut up and let him do whatever the fuck he wants. That is the trip I’ve been on for some months now – do whatever you want. Hardly supportive but it’s a step up from downright nasty.

What IS my problem?

It bothers me that he sits in his not-even-retail kitchen the whole day, takes orders, fusses over the execution of those orders, supervises icing, and talks shop. It tests my patience and I consistently fail. He’s his own boss, sure, lucky guy. On some days, he goes to meet people in corporate offices so they can buy cakes from him. But usually, there is no connection or chit chat with similar, able-minded people. This gets to me the most – these hardly stimulating influences. Of course the comeback is perfectly just: Oh, you think you’re always surrounded by superior life forms, is it?

Answer is no, but at least there’s a variety. I’d go mad if I were stuck with three of my dumbest colleagues, and names, I assure you, spring to mind IMMEDIATELY.

But in words that could be his, I feel there is a glaring dearth in the calibre of human resource around him. It’s just him and his bakers who call him sir. I find it perverse that his people interaction is restricted to four servile people. I wouldn’t give him street smarts. His earnestness makes me want to choke on one of his beautiful butterfly muffins. And at the best of times he has the naiveté of an 11-year-old. But it so happens that this boy has the intelligence and sincerity of no one I know. This is a compliment and mostly a good thing. But it’s tiring, showing him what for I don’t like the idea of a bakery, and especially him running it. Conviction: it’s a waste of his IQ and I feel of his time. If you want to be an astronaut why settle for star gazing and insist the apron is your space suit?

Fully endorsed: the banoffee pies at Cake Away

But now that I don’t have a job – quite the news, huh; papers finally put in, after months of shall-I-shouldn’t-I -- I have all the time in the world to criticise people who are actually doing something, such as the space cadet of Cake Away fame mentioned above.

He even asked me, the hitherto-ex-journalist to join him. I said ha ha, not a chance in hell. Meaning, of course, as any fool can see: I’ll help you, I’ll give you all the advice and feedback you want, I just won’t take orders/ a salary from you.

To which, and filed under touché, cupcake, came this golden nugget from baker boy: “Okay, since don’t want to do anything with your life, why don’t you just concentrate on becoming a professional bitch?”

What can I say? I deserve all the love I get.

I can haz half muffin, pwease?


thebaniyaspeaks said...

What if you're wrong, and the astronaut is actually an architect, building his stars? Beyond your narrow POV?

The.Mystic said...

Nice idea! It will take time for people to accept it! Amazon was touted be the biggest flops of the decade, now look how big it got. A great viral marketing campaign is all what he needs. I understand your frustration.
Jaspal Bhatti was a professor of Physics! An artist became Hitler! Not the best examples but at 12am, after a long day of work, thats what I can come up with!

The site rocks! and the cakes are reasonably priced and look tasty.

Sorry, but this time I am with the boyfriend :)

The Unbearable Banishment said...

"What IS my problem?" + pic of big jar of knives = Headline story on nightly news crime-fest.

It bothers you that he works?? You are a pill. And a half. And you have ninja skills at judging that poor soul. If he's content running a bakery, who are you, etc.?

Women always want to remake their men. It's the classic mistake that goes back centuries. Does he have a blog post re: what needs to change about you? Could you link it, please?

Janaki said...

The pictures give one story while the words another.... the cakes look yumm.. I feel bad of not having a chance for a taste..

Anonymous said...

Suck it up Princess.

Sorry for your job loss, but there will be silver lining. Please don't take it out on him, its a free world and even astronauts need cookies :)

Nimpipi said...

Speaking Baniya : If I'm wrong then you'll be very rich and I'll be happy for you. Honest. How's that for sudden expansion of POV?

Myst: Heh. You don't have to be sorry about anything. If you order a cake from him and say you know his blogger girlfriend, I'm he'll give you a discount. (Are you listening, baniyers of previous comment?)

TUB: I am trying to come to terms with the price of eggs and flour and 'accept him for who he is'. (God, that sounds like hogwash even to me!)

Lets delay finding solutions. I'll just go distract myself by having my sweet tooth extracted.

Janaki: Amateur clicker = me. Thinking of joining a photography course now that I have all the time in the world. I could walk to you in Bombay, home delver some cakes and still not have a job when I get back. Fun times!:P

Anon: I want to argue with you so bad, but you have a point. Okay, this is me, sucking it up and er, resuming behaviour patterns of a princess. :))

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but as a litt-grad-MBA-and-lover-of-all-things-baked, I think your boyfriend has his head screwed on the right way about this. Why be another toxic engineer-MBA type (and I have suffered enough of the breed for two years to know what I'm referring to) when he clearly enjoys baking awesome goodies and can make a good living off it?

Ambition takes different forms, and much as I love your writing, I think I'm with him on this one.

(Btwy, trained-professional-who-wants-to-bake-and-make-the-world-a-better-place? He's like the male Maggie Gyllenhal from Stranger Than Fiction. And though I hated the fact that in the film the woman was the one giving up the challenging career and her radical politics (by the end of the film, that is), I'm still kinda with your boyfriend on this one.

(Sorry, long-winded nosey-parkering from Anonymouse)

Perakath said...

I, too, call my boss 'sir'. My consultant/banker friends can't fathom why. But then I call clients 'sir' too. Must be some latent South Indian instinct.

Baniya-- Sorry, but in all objectiveness, I think your site is very badly designed! I hope it works out for you though. I often dream of starting a business-- I have an idea and I'm sure it could work.

Btw, I have a friend who started a 'pure home-delivery' business in Madras. (, although the url has lapsed. Heh.) The idea was that you use his site to order from any of the major restaurant chains without having to call them directly. His business is doing great-- but he's repositioned as a catering broker/consultant, a middleman between corporate canteens and guys who cook. The whole web idea fell through completely.

Which brings me to: I'm curious-- since you're renting space and have the overheads anyway, what's the logic behind not offering a dine-in option as well? Do you save on rent by using a tiny space? Wouldn't you generate more walk-in and word of mouth business by being just a regular bakery that also home delivers? I don't see your business model's advantages. (Which isn't to slimily imply that there are none.)

Nimpip-- Slipped the quitting news in quite slyly there! I just came across your (now-former) business card the other day. Congragulations? LINGUISTICS COURSE.

Perakath said...

Pikchars look bloody delicious, though, so good job to both of you!

The.Mystic said...

Discount makes the cake even more yummier! :D

You do take good pictures, take the course. I'll model for you, pay me in brownies.

Pringle Man said...

oh nimpipi, so many words you are writing, writing, telling us about this and that and that and this, and I is still not understanding you at all men.

kan said...

your recent posts have been depressing

Nimpipi said...

Anonmouse: Nosey parker, not at all. Sensible, what you speak. And in theory, I agree with you- bakery is a charming idea, different from the mba herd. I've surprised myself this past year- with other things too, but most of all in having a problem with boy+cakes to such a rabid degree. Even so, what I'm loving is the unexpected support for him from readers he doesn't know and from those who don't know him. Tickles me silly. Aww is I =)

Perakath: Dewd, GINORMOUS comment, I say! He's not going to put any of those queries to rest. I'm not interested. Progess = nil.

Work is bu-bye, yea. Desperately seeking greener pastures (all the time I should add.)

Linguistics course why uppercase? And don't say things about bad template, you had underwear as your blog header!

Myst : No photography course for a few months. The batch at Triveni started last week. 5 months, 10 grand. I'm unemployed and cannot afford such Wake Up, Sid like rites of passage. Mores the pity.

Pringle, men: I've been so lonely without you. The words and more words are an ode to the loss I felt in your absence. See my prettyears do drip drip, can you? ;)

Kan: I guess have been sighing a lot. Maybe I'll blog more often, mix up the sadness with inanities, make it more upbeat and chase away the depression with nonsense rhyme or something.

Here In Franklin said...

Gotta go with the boyfriend on this one. Wouldn't you rather him have a job he loves than one he doesn't?

The.Mystic said...

^ DIY! :)
^ Call and ask about Jamia's course, its cheaper and better

Nitika said...

The cakes look yummy. Next time definitely ordering from him. And i'll spread the word amongst other office types here in Gurgaon. The website looks nice. Goodluck to him on this venture.

BTW, whats with the whole sir thing? C'mon, you, me... the fauji kids, we have grown up hearing our dads say sir everytime a senior officer called. Yes sir. Right sir. Theek hai sir, Ho jayega sir.. SM ko bhi saab kehte the. Why does it surprise you so much at him being called sir.

When I was litigating in Delhi, like Perakath, I used to call my seniors sir. Comes naturally.

Re photography classes, there is one in vasant vihar called photosensitive. My friend took classes from these guys. I hera they are good. Check them out.

Nimpipi said...

HIF: Sure, if only I could love it too. But I'm trying restraint. Day 5. :P

Myst: Thank you, touched!:) Will look it up.

Nitika: Ask for a discount if and when you call.

Sir doesn't surprise me, it amuses me. Sir is sweet. I have to say though, I'm happy to be part of a world that allows you the freedom to call your boss's boss by his first name, yessur, I am:).

Thank you, too, about the VV photo tip. Must investigate.

Soulmate said...

More than the post, I was concentrating on the cakes... they look absolutely worth dying for..I am drooling... please be kind to them... :-))