Winter cakes make Nasima self-reliant

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DHAKA, Feb 21, 2020 (BSS) – The 40-year-old Nasima Begum along with her
only son Roopchand moved to the capital for searching a job last year, when
the turbulent Padma river devoured her house and other property. Nasima’s
ailing husband Abdul Ali also accompanied her.

She first started living at a slum in Chholmaid area under Bhatara thana
in the capital through a person known by her. In the meantime, she managed a
job of domestic help in Basundhara Residential Area.

Nasima’s husband does some light works as he is unable to do heavy works
for his sickness. Most of his time passes by sitting in their house. In
rotation of the time, their son has grown up and got admitted to a school run
by a non-government organisation (NGO).

But their son could not continue his study due to hardship in the family.

After depositing some money from the salary of her work as a domestic
help, Nasima opened a shop behind the Apollo Hospitals at Chholmaid Bazaar
where she started selling Bhapa Pitha (steamed cake). Her husband Abdul Ali
and son Roopchand also assist in her works.

Nasima earned Taka 40,000 in the last winter season by selling Bhapa Pitha
and helped her husband Abdul Ali in setting up a mobile shop of betel leaf,
cigarettes and tea. Ali earns Taka 500-700 daily by selling betel leaf,
cigarettes and tea.

Nasima runs their family with the money. She, however, this time launched
a cake shop in a bigger area at Chholmaid, which remains opened from
afternoon to till 9 pm every day.

This correspondent talked to Nasima in a recent evening when she was busy
with preparing Bhapa and Chitai Pitha.

“After excluding cost, we profit around Taka 800 by selling 250-300 cakes
daily,” she said.

Though there is a tradition of making cakes in the rural areas, it’s very
difficult to spare time for preparing cakes in the busy urban life.

As everybody wants to eat cake in the winter season, many people like
Nasima are engaged in cake business. Many ultra poor families have become
self-reliant by selling cake in different areas of the capital in the winter
season.

The business of the temporary shops set up at various places including
besides lanes, by-lanes, main intersections, bus stands and shopping malls
gain momentum as the prices of their winter cakes are cheaper.

Nasima, who hails from a village under Goalondo upazila in Rajbari, said
when the sun sets, the people from various areas start gathering in front of
their shop to buy cakes.

She said most of the buyers are the rickshaw pullers of Basundhara area
who moved to the capital after keeping their family members at the village
homes.

Though arrangements for making cakes are made in the rural areas during
the winter, these low income people do not get their taste. So, many of them
forget that pain by eating cakes from Nasima.

Nasima’s husband Abdul Ali said as the winter is the peak time for cake
business, many people are involved in the business. The seasonal business
adds additional income to the family.

“We hope that we’ll make more profit than last year by selling cakes and
if it happens, we’ll open a permanent tea stall. Then my wife doesn’t need to
work at other’s house,” he said

Nasima, however, said she will not work as a domestic help anymore if she
can make arrangements for permanent income for her husband. “If it happens,
then we’ll return to our village and stay there after purchasing a piece of
land,” she said.

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