In October 2021, life as Deepti Gupta knew it changed after the untimely demise of her husband, Rohit.
Rohit had met with a road accident, which had resulted in 33 fractures on his left leg. He underwent a surgery, where doctors placed a rod to support his leg. But given his good fitness levels and the fact that he had no prior health issues, he made a full recovery after his surgery.
However, ten days later, while he was recuperating at home, he succumbed to a heart attack.
“His death was so sudden that it took all of us time to process and come to terms with it,” Deepti (34), a resident of Delhi, tells The Better India.
“It was a usual evening at our home,” she recalls. “We had all eaten an early dinner and Rohit was walking about inside the house. He walked up to his father with the help of a walker and was having a conversation with him. Within five minutes, he started having problems in breathing and began complaining of loss of vision. Before we could react and do anything for him, he was gone.”
After marriage, Deepti, a qualified Microsoft-certified systems engineer, had chosen to be a homemaker. However, after Rohit’s death, she decided to don the hat of an entrepreneur.
“I experienced the proverb, ‘Man proposes, God disposes’ firsthand. Rohit and I had so many dreams for our future. They were all cut short so unexpectedly. I had to do something to be able to support my daughter and family,” she says.
‘Fulfilling my husband’s dream’
“Food was something that brought Rohit and me together. He would always appreciate my cooking, and I decided to use that skill,” she says.
Before she started, Deepti did a quick survey around her neighbourhood and found that there weren’t any good food joints serving south Indian food. And so, she invested Rs 10,000 to begin her venture, aiming to provide hygienic and affordable south Indian dishes.
On 14 February 2022, to celebrate the love that she shared with her husband, Deepti opened her own food store. “I named it Yashika Dosa Point, after my 8-year-old daughter. I started my first day with about 5 kg of rice, which I used to make the batter. Since then, there has been no looking back.”
Deepti is at the shop Monday to Saturday, from 11 am to 9 pm, and says that she takes Sunday off to be with her daughter and gear up for the week ahead. “It’s also great because I get to spend enough time with Yashika, who needs me more than ever now.”
At Yashika Dosa Point, one can savour a variety of dosa, which includes cheese, chocolate, and masala, as well as idli, uttapam, and vada, alongside condiments like chutney and sambhar.
All prices have been kept at under Rs 100 and there is also a platter with a mini dosa, mini uttapam, one vada and idli for Rs 100.
When she began her venture, she gave herself six months to establish herself. So far, the profit she’s been making has been encouraging her to do more, she says. “With the kind of time I am putting into the venture, I am able to earn close to Rs 1,000 per day. I am making close to Rs 35,000 per month now,” she notes.
Food vlogger Pujneet, aka Bhooka Saand, was the first to discover Yashika Dosa Point and highlight Deepti’s story in his video. He says, “I’ve made hundreds of videos, but Deepti’s story was one that touched me. Here is a lady who has decided to work hard and turn her life around. There is great humility in her and that is reflected in the food she makes and serves.”
Meanwhile, even with fierce determination to make this work, Deepti says that it hasn’t all been easy. “I had very close relatives tell me that I would fail. They also gave me an ultimatum of just a few days and said I would have to wrap it all up soon. To them, being a woman was suddenly a reason to be weak.”
She adds that many were also unable to understand why she refused to get a job and insisted on making and selling food.
For this, she says, “My daughter is still very young. There are many moments throughout the day when she needs me around. My work allows me the flexibility I need to raise her. Why wouldn’t I take that up?”
“No job is too big or small. At the time I started this, I needed to run the family and I am glad I was able to. Do what you believe in, the naysayers will fall in line when they see success coming your way.”
Reminiscing on how her inspiration lies in the memories that her husband left behind, she says, “Rohit was strong, both mentally and physically. He would constantly urge me to think of doing something for myself, build something to call my own. While I have taken baby steps towards it, I wish he could have been around to see me today,” she says.
If you are in Delhi and would like to support Deepti in her venture, you can reach out to her at +91- 8010708262.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)