Swati Arun recalls a lovely childhood she shared in Delhi with her parents and sister. Vacations and weekend trips were always memorable because the family would come together to bake marble and fruit walnut cakes, which Swati’s mother was the mastermind behind.
Even though I loved to cook and bake, I was bad at it, and my dad used to tease me a lot about it; Swati chuckles. “I have burned things so many times, left dishes uncooked so many times, or just made a huge mess in the kitchen. He would humorously inquire whenever I baked, “Oh, am I going to get sick? Will I get a stomach ache? Will my teeth fall out?
Swati recalls her father, Arun, who died suddenly in March of last year, as being full of love, humour, and constant banter.
Arun had a sudden heart attack while en route to work. “I was in Paris for a stent procedure he had just a few days prior to the incident. Four days after his operation, he experienced a heart attack because of a faulty stent. Before his death, he had been receiving treatment for around 17 days, she said.
The incident occurred just 10 days before the COVID-19 pandemic’s commencement when the entire world went into lockdown. “I can’t really express how I feel, but when something like this happens, there is no way to fully make up for the hurt in your heart. Loss is an extremely individualised and subjective experience. Even though my sister and I faced the same sorrow, we handled our father’s passing differently. So you simply have to persevere and follow your gut, she advises.
The sudden lockdown left Swati, her mother, and her sister stranded in a foreign country with no way out. They had all managed to fly in to be with Arun.
‘Way of showing our love
She explains, “We were afraid and stuck in Paris for approximately three months.” “Covid made us afraid to go outside, and we had just lost someone very dear to us. There was a great deal of vagueness. “One day, we ran out of bread at home,” she continues. I chose to prepare some at home because I didn’t want to go outside. I believe that was my first attempt at baking bread.
Swati and her family went back to India three months after leaving. She looked to YouTube and the web to slowly start teaching herself how to bake while she was still in shock from the tragedy and wanted to keep herself and her mother busy.
Arun’s Bakery was founded in this manner. “My father loved eating, and he grew up in Old Delhi,” adds Swati. Therefore, it was a significant aspect of our lives as well. Our way of expressing our love was through the Bakery. Arun’s Bakery was formally established in August of last year after they returned to India, and Swati used some of her funds to get it going. “I began with roughly Rs 10,000, and I believe after running the Bakery for about a week, we broke even. Simply put, our friends and relatives showed us that type of love, she says. Except for a few Instagram advertising, the majority of our network has grown naturally. Word of mouth has largely been the source of it.
Due to the fact that Swati and her mother Vandana both work full-time, they only offered a few options at first. They currently sell cookies, muffins, cakes, and breads, while Swati claims they are always developing new recipes.
Arun distributes throughout the NCR, and the prices of the dishes range from Rs 250 to Rs 600. She claims that “all of our ingredients are organic.” For instance, I make pesto at home using basil that I produce myself. We use organic maida (flour) as well. The dish will be prepared on an order-by-order basis on the day of delivery in order to maintain freshness. The goal of our culinary service is to be of the highest caliber, and we only utilise ingredients that we would eat ourselves.
Among the dishes are a classic twist of olive on garlic bread, organically grown pesto bread, squished bread with veggies, bechamel, and sauteed onions, as well as a light, mildly spiced cake with bananas and walnuts, muffins with cappuccino and chocolate chips, and a sweet-savory tooti frooti bun.
Transforming sorrow into strength
Vandana and Swati made the decision to contribute their earnings to support those in need of medical care who are less fortunate. Swati explains the cause of this by saying, “We realised that my father was lucky enough to afford the greatest care. Due to the social security benefits that French citizens enjoy, which the majority of them did not receive back home, we did not have to spend excessively on medical care. That served as one of the Bakery’s motivating factors.
Arun’s Bakery has gathered Rs 5 lakh in earnings since August 2020 and used it to pay for a man’s stent surgery at Gurugram’s Paras Hospital. According to Swati, they are getting ready to subsidise their next one. She also says that a cardiologist at Paras contacts them when a patient needs financial support, and the mother-daughter team responds appropriately. The hospital “meets us halfway,” lowering the cost of the medication and procedure while we pay the balance.
When Nykaa asked them for orders to commemorate the company’s IPO listing in November, their efforts garnered the well-deserved accolades they so richly deserved. The business ordered roughly 180 cupcakes to be delivered to 30 different locations.
Swati acknowledges that it took her some time and several blunders before she fully grasped how to run a firm. The balance between work and life was initially off, she continues, “since I used to bake from 7 to 10 in the morning, go to work, and then bake again from 8 to about 11 in the evening. My life had largely revolved around my job. There is no hard stop when you are managing your own firm and everything from logistics to acquiring raw materials, purchase, business development, and packaging. As a result, I’ve gradually developed some time management abilities.
Arun’s Bakery briefly closed down during the second COVID-19 wave in India, and Swati and Vandana started a free tiffin facility for infected families. “We provided food for roughly 500 families and teamed up with Dunzo to offer free lunch deliveries. Every day, we prepared kilos of sabzi, dal, chawal, salad, raita, and roti and distributed the meals to those in need at no cost. Being able to return the love we have received has been the main focus. At a time when we were so depressed, it was greatly needed.