If you go to Shillong, you must not miss going to to Daphi’s Bakery. You won’t find it so easily. Instead just might have to earn it, but believe me, it’s worth the go. My cousins, Merin and Soji, along with Thomas, my brother, climbed the 257 stairs from Malki Point to reach an altitude where we were treated to a beautiful sight of the city on one side and the forest on the other, with a road winding up behind us.
From the time I heard that my friend, former college band mate, soulful singer and at-times-rapper, Daphimonroi Warjiri , went to learn what she loved the most in life – Bakery Science, I felt I should go meet her and pat her on the back for taking a step so daring in life. After a BA in Psychology, Sociology and Economics, when she had opportunities in Bangalore ( where we we did our graduation) to earn good salaries in corporate companies she chose what no other friend I know did. Just because she wanted to do something close to her heart; something she believed she was made for. In days like ours, many of us don’t dare to be so authentic, of course, due to a variety of reasons.
It was a risky decision, of course. But all you need to agree with her decision is to taste one of her chocolate Brownies. 7 months ago, she took a huge step in life by setting up a Bakery. That too at the front room of their house, a beautiful wooden cottage, so well maintained despite its age : nearly a century old. Her grandmother’s parents, who bought it for their daughter decades ago, may have not foreseen this state of affairs, but I wish they had. That one large room has all she needs: her oven, mixer and her provisions and of course her music system. She begins at 8 am and works through her orders ( she’s been refusing many orders since there have been too many). Then she bakes ” . . . Whatever I feel like, that day,” besides the regular bread ( and whole wheat bread). This could be any thing right from Muffins, Cookies, Brownies and hundreds of different things. I couldn’t catch all the names but they sounded delicious. When she’s done baking, which is around 2.30 pm she opens the white window of the bakery to her customers and sells her delicious bakery products.
She shares that it is very exciting and that there are difficulties as she work towards making her dreams come true. She goes through her share of struggles each day, even as she stirs her vessel (literally and figuratively) through a life which she chose. “There are days when I feel like I don’t want to get up and come to the bakery,” she says with a disarming frankness which transparently veils an undying determination to achieve her dreams, and to abide by her decision to live for what she was made for, rather than fall into a life with a set format.
But to believe in her and her decision, one only needs to taste one of her signature goodies. I could mouth brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and muffins and cheese biscuits and ask for more. There is no question on whether she has talent, the question is only, when is she becoming famous!
Daphi is one of those people who just don’t care about the money coming in. She, rather, foan ncusses on doing her best, being content and making people happy. It isn’t easy, mind you. There comes a lot of indecision, uncertainty and pain, even as you follow your dreams. The question is, when you look back at life a couple of decades from now, would you rather have lived a life you were made, thus having been fruitful for the good of all, or, someone else’s life?
Daphi makes two types of bread – wheat and whole wheat. On the outside they look crusty, and hard with its brown, baked-just-now looks. It s when you slice them that you realise how soft the bread is, despite its crusty appearance. It reminded me of us. We look hard, tough and durable on the outside. But inside those looks, we are just tender, ready-to-melt human beings, covered in what seems hard crust, meant to protect our inner beings. Interestingly, I had to cut the bread to find out that it was soft. It seem a painful rupture in everyday life causes us to discover that we are all good beings with a tender hearts.