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Life, Cakes, and I

"With the help of my motivations, I am making my way through life but I do have my worries about the future."

-Sumbul Iqbal

Author: Alfisha Sabri

August, 2021

Life, in general, is hard, for most; it has always been. We all find our motivations in little, often mundane things. I found mine in two such- my role models and baking.

My role models are those who raised me- my khala and khalu (maternal uncle and aunt). They saw me grow and I saw them make their way through this world. My father left me at an early age of ten and they took me in. My uncle is from a backward village so much so that he would swim to school and study under the street light. Today he is an ENT specialist from BHU and the words of wisdom he repeatedly offers to me are,

Tumhari mehnat hi tumhari pehchan banti hai" (It is your hard work that becomes your identity.)

My khala, on the other hand, is the one who has shaped my ideals. She has never failed to stand for what she believes in, for herself and or those around her. My faith in Allah and my ability to face the challenges that life throws at me are because of her. The support system of the family, she manages the entire hospital facility single-handedly.

One of Sumbul's cakes

Coming to baking, I think that cake is/has become a very important symbol of joy, happiness, and celebration. To think that my interest can bring a couple of hours, minutes, moments of joy to somebody, makes me feel… good. I am confident about and proud of my baking skills (chuckles), and alhamdulillah baking is such a therapeutic experience for me. Another reason I feel so deeply connected to baking, I think, is because it has so much to do with science. Science has always been my passion since the 3rd standard. Currently, I am pursuing my Ph.D. from IIT Roorkee but due to the pandemic, I am still waiting to visit the campus. I aspire to provide education to underprivileged children and one step towards that has been adopting a child to provide financial assistance for the same.

With the help of my motivations, I am making my way through life but I do have my worries about the future. I worry about finances, about career, about what will become of how far I have managed to come- all of this supposedly holds little value for a woman in this patriarchal society. When I go around filling forms, giving interviews, etc. I am asked to fill in my father’s details. During my B.Tech., we were asked to submit our personal details to the Class Representative, I submitted mine directly to the department so that my batch mates wouldn't find out about my family. A similar thing happened when I was applying for a hostel. I don’t like to address this unless absolutely necessary because I know myself to be much larger and stronger than a bechari.

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