Interview with Simran Oberoi Multani – a vegan baker who’s passionate about community service!

At the Precious Paws Fundraiser bake sale
Simran Oberoi Multani at the Precious Paws Fundraiser Bake Sale

Following one’s inner calling has many rewards and this is reflected in Simran Oberoi Multani’s entrepreneurial baking business Ovenderful. Packed with goodness of grains, nuts & fruits; her recipes are child-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, free from artificial sweeteners, colours and preservatives. People keep coming back for the honest-to-goodness flavours and the heartfelt community initiatives that spread smiles & compassion.

In an interview with Deesha Kriplani for The Positive Media, she speaks about the many rewards of baking from the heart…

Simran Oberoi Multani
Simran Oberoi Multani, Founder & Chief Baker of Ovenderful with her son

Q:  From being a successful HR Consultant for leading Indian Corporates to a flourishing Baking Entrepreneur – what made you switch careers?

Ovenderful started as a baking blog for me to chronicle my experiences and recipes when I had just started baking some 4-5 years ago. However, in November 2013, as my son was turning a year old and I was in a full time role at work as well, I went through the phase that several women go through –I loved being a mother, but I wanted that to be one key part of my overall identity. I was looking for something that would be an extension of the person I was. I am an HR professional by experience and education, with over a decade of consulting experience. But even that didn’t seem to drive my enthusiasm in a way that baking did.

Additionally, organizations did not and even now many do not, have the kind of support system that allows new mothers to bring their little ones to work and be at peace in their minds, given our nuclear family set-ups. Hence the passion to bake as well as my desire to be at home with my son drove me to undertake this entrepreneurial venture full-time. That’s when I decided to find that one aspect which links my heart, soul and mind, so that I could leverage it and create a venture. These reasons provided the much needed impetus to start Ovenderful in a bigger and more active way.

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Search Years Baking Classes for Village girls

Q: You’ve taught village girls to bake without any electricity or fancy equipment. Kindly share your experience.

When I had just started baking, Mr Shelat, the Founder of Search Years, a Gurgaon based NGO, asked me if I would be able able to take vocational training classes for around 12 village girls who came to the SY centre for vocational skills and art training. That’s when I volunteered to take weekly baking classes for these girls – that experience actually opened my eyes to baking with limited resources since they would ask questions about how to bake in a cooker or eggless because they could not afford eggs or an oven, and had electricity issues in their villages. It propelled me to try out alternatives.

Search Years girls making lovely designs at the baking class during Diwali
Search Years Girls baking pretty designs for Diwali

I would have learnt the regular baking approach using the OTG, using eggs and hand beaters, had I not had a chance to take those classes. There is always value in being experimental when it comes to cooking or even baking. There is always value in keeping one’s mind open to non-traditional methods and perspectives. The SY experience totally expanded my mind’s horizon in ways that nothing else would. It also taught me a great deal of commitment – after a whole week of working in my consulting role, the weekends were precious. But when I started these classes, to travel to them and carry them out on Sunday mornings needed me to push myself. And I think the prospect of meeting energetic and enthusiastic young girls who loved the idea of what they were doing, was the single-most driving factor.

At the Precious Paws Foundation Fundraisers Bake Sale

At the precious paws fundraiser bake sale next year
Simran Multani speaking at the Precious Paws Fundraiser Bake Sale

 Q: The natural flavours, the fundraising, community welfare – tell us more about Ovenderful’s unique vision & mission

 When we speak about health, we often count the calories but not the chemicals. So my vision with Ovenderful was 2 things – one was to bake as close to natural as possible and keep the store bought and artificial chemicals or colours at bay. In the clutter of fondant based or colour filled cakes, I felt that somewhere the wholesome flavours of baked goodness itself were getting lost. So Ovenderful ensures that aspect and focuses on making sure that the health quotient is always the primary essence of each bake. Secondly, making the bakes inclusive as per health requirements and food preferences is the other part of the vision. There are many who have food allergies and many who choose to eat a certain kind of food. For both these groups, the options are limited and at times forbiddingly expensive. So my focus from Ovenderful was to make my baked to order list as inclusive as possible to be able to cater to these segments.

 When it comes to fundraising and community welfare, I have never hesitated to use Ovenderful to raise funds for helping animal rescue NGOs through collaborative bake sales for Indigree Angels Trust, Help & Heal Animal Trust, Precious Paws Foundation, VoSD, CARE Animal Shelter. To me, every venture has to have an overarching community purpose if it is connected to me.

 Q: A lot of parents & fitness enthusiasts are opting for chemical & gluten-free sweets which are slightly more expensive than branded counterparts available in markets. Is Vegan Baking a lucrative career? 

Vegan baking is a lucrative career provided one understands vegan baking and knows how to manage the substitutes or alternatives. India does not have a ready range of  vegan products like butter, milk and so on. So making some of these at home is the answer, but that is time consuming and can be expensive. Nevertheless, it is a great area to work in with increasing potential in the future. Eating chemical free food is the way to go and today there are those who are ready to make that difference in their lifestyle even if it comes for a marginally higher cost.

 

Q: What is Ovenderful’s current market reach? Can your goodies be bought online?

 I am focusing on getting all the goodies online for ease of access and placing orders, but as of now there are a selection of the Ovenderful goodies that are available online through Amazon’’s Junglee Local Store, My Little Moppet and Masalabox. For the rest, depending on the enquiry received I share the baked to order list with those who want to order and it contains over 75 options for them to choose from plus variants.

 

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Ovenderful’s participation At VoSD Bake Fundraiser, As reported in the Indian Express Bangalore Edition.

 

Q: Ovenderful’s Annual Bake Sale for fund-raising is an instant sell-out. What drives you to take up these initiatives?

Yes, things have been great on that front. The Annual Bake Sale for fundraising does well because the cause or the animal rescue shelter that I identify and focus on is genuine, the person who runs it is credible and the financial support they need is evident. The sale does well because those who know me for a while now, know that that is a key area that I want to be able to contribute to. There is limited or almost no focus on animal welfare to the extent that it should be in India. The kind of cruelty that animals suffer at our hands is immense. But there are those individuals who work tirelessly and quietly to help these voiceless souls and my Annual fundraising is to ensure that they receive the funds and attention that they deserve.

As an extension of this fundraising work, I am also now a part of The Bake Collective, which is an organization that uses bake sales extensively to raising funds for critical causes in collaboration with Goonj, Milaap and so on.

Bake a Sunshine Cake Initiative
At the Bake a Sunshine Cake Initiative that went viral in many Indian cities

 

Q: Your initiative Bake-a-Sunshine Cake for Christmas turned into a movement. Kindly share more about this experience.

When Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community that I founded a year ago, completed a year as an FB group focusing on healthy home baking, I wanted to do something which went beyond the regular contests to win(did that too!). I launched the “Bake a Sunshine Cake” initiative for December 2015, which was basically about spreading sunshine by baking healthy goodies at home like we would for our families and sharing those with those less fortunate, children at orphanages and those in the old age homes. The initiative was carried out by over 30 mom bakers in Bangalore, Mumbai, Faridabad, United States ( Indiana, New Jersey, Clarksburg) and United Kingdom. Names of some of the places visited were Cheshire Old Age Home- Bangalore, Vishwas Home orphanage-Bangalore, Snehasadan – Home for the homeless street children Mumbai, Janak Sewa Samiti Old Age Home Faridabad, Brookdale House senior care facility in Hampshire UK, through the Lord’s Pantry program and Feed the Sheep programs in the US. In many cases, apart from the goodies, the bags and handwritten notes were part of the special touch.

 People also reached out to their community children, security guards, auto drivers, delivery boys, housekeeping staff and even Indian stray dogs with homebaked goodies to spread happiness and holiday cheer. It was an immensely enriching experience for me to be able to lead this and have so many like minded bakers joining in to make such a world of difference in and around us.

These bakers of the Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community made it a huge success in its first year ( just a month ago in December 2015!). It will only get bigger and better each year.

 Thank You for sharing about your Inspiring Journey. Wishing you the best for everything from the entire team at www.thepositivemedia.com

Connect with Simran Oberoi Multani at:

Website: http://ovenderful.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/ovenderful/

                      https://www.facebook.com/groups/ovenderfulmombakers/

Twitter: Ovenderful​
Instagram: @sim_ovenderful
Photo Courtesy: All pictures have been provided by Simran Oberoi Multani from Ovenderful, unless otherwise mentioned.

 

 

Share your Story Feature – Vision Board 2016

Hello beautiful people!

It gives me joy to be able to share a bit of my healing journey with you. Creating a Vision Board helps you outline goals and set intentions as you align your energies towards your true calling. This New Years  I did just that – for an extra dollop of motivation. Hope this helps you create your own.

I’m feeling alive and optimistic as I create this Vision Board for 2016!

I love beginnings – they hold promise for something new, hope for the better, faith that it will all be fine and a chance to start again.

Its like gifting yourself a new story with a new calendar. Its both a closure and a celebration. Closing one door, opening another. Welcoming changes. Exhaling the past, inhaling the present and creating a potential for the future.

Using crystals, charms, bric-a-bracs, jewellery items, affirmation cards and more – I’ve tried to define my goals for 2016 (and beyond). I hope these bring positivity to you too.

Here are some of my goals (in no particular order):

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Healthy & Happy
  1.  Healthy & Happy

I am in the pink of health. All my chakras are energized and well-balanced. I make positive changes in my mindset, lifestyle, exercise and diet that better my health everyday. “I am healthy, happy and filled with vital energy”.

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Dreams & Destiny

2. Dreams & Destiny

I follow my dreams and take chances. Reach for the moon and stars. All my creative endeavors bear ripe fruit. “I wisely & joyously create with all the unlimited potential within me. I am gifted.”

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Money wise

3. Money Wise

All my work/s will come together. I will flourish as a freelancer and young entrepreneur. I am financially secure now and forever more. I own property. “My income is constantly increasing because I am a money & prosperity magnet.”

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I am safe

4. Safe in the Known & Unknown

I am safe in all that is known and unknown. I am divinely guided, blessed, protected and supported with every breath. All that was, is and all that will be is part of a bigger divine picture which will unveil itself in time.  “I fulfil my dharma & destiny in the now & eternity”

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Forgiveness

5. Forevers, Forgiveness & Friendships

I forgive and release all those who hurt me, I am free and so are they. I wish everyone a fresh start to make happy memories. In an ever-pulsating Universe, I am always surrounded by friends – I only have to look! “I am my own best friend.”

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Love is life

6. Love is Life

Love is life’s eternal seed. I love my family, friends, colleagues, healers, soul-mates, and everyone I encounter through this ocean of life. I am with my true love. I am in loving and harmonious relationships. “I am Loved, I am Love, I Love”

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Wanderlust

7. Whimsies & Wanderlust

I travel far and wide. Wake up to new horizons. Discover other cultures and exotic cuisines. Meet people different from me. Learn new language/s, and perhaps even dance/s. “I indulge & express my gypsy self”

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Time

8. Time is my Friend

I am on a journey through eternity. Every moment is right & blessed to take a fresh start, to pursue my goals, build relationships in the now and beyond. Young, old, aged are all just relative concepts, because I am an eternal being. “I am exactly where I am meant to be.”

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Heal the World

9. Heal the World

I heal the world with love, light and knowledge. My positive intentions make a difference to the world and its people. I am a positive force that heals the negative and strengthens the positive to manifest. I learn and upgrade myself with new healing tools and knowledge that are aligned with my path/s. “I am one with all that is, was and will be. I am pure consciousness…ever flowing, ever-changing”.

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World is a Mirror

10. The World is a Mirror

I see the beauty within and without. I am pure spirit. I embrace and rejoice in very aspect of my personality. Everyone loves, accepts, appreciates me for all that I am.  “I love what I was, love what I am, love what I am becoming.”

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Heal & Energise

11. Heal Shadow Self, Energise Radiant Self

I release all fears, insecurities, issues, beliefs, mindsets that are less than love. I transmute the shadows to pure light for the highest good of all. I am radiant and express joie de vivre. “I express & celebrate my radiance as I heal & transform the darkness within me”

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Life is full of surprises

12. Surprise me!

(Life is full of magickal surprises – so I’ve left this vision as a blank canvas.)

I trust the process of Life and the cycle of the Universe to take care of my every need. All that is good for me, comes to me in joyously mysterious ways. “I am an Iridescent Void – pulsating with the vibrancy & energy of the Universe, which resides in me.”

Welcome 2016!! 🙂 

Share your Vision Board/Goals with us and get published! Write to thepositivemedia@gmail.com

Deesha Kriplani is a Freelance writer & editor with creative interests in food & fashion. Connect on https://deeshakriplani.wordpress.com/  to know more.

 

 

Featured Story From A Reader – An Angel on The Way

AN ANGEL ON THE WAY

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I wish I could talk to her for some more time. I wanted to know her name, wanted to know what does she do.. I am talking about a beautiful girl I met on bus stop while returning back from a lunch meet with my Yoga buddies.

My friends and I have always had lots of fun , but I still find myself a misfit when I go in groups, small or big, I always get stressed out while deciding upon what to wear , what to eat, how will I come back ? I don’t know why but I have been like this ever since I remember going out with family in childhood. I cant put on make up or be very stylish for some unknown reason..

Okay.. So coming back to that girl.. When I was returning and waiting for bus, that girl asked me to check a setting in her phone. I couldn’t unlock the phone and she said, “Swipe with two fingers keeping some gap in between ” and it was unlocked. Then she told me to go in settings, one by one she told me each and every option plus additional settings options as well…. I was speechless. Do you know why ? Because that girl couldn’t see… I would never call her blind because the way she carried confidence in herself was more than anyone who can see this world. I asked her a few questions like – ‘do u travel everyday ?’ She said YES ! She had NO fear.. NO hesitation about anything around her. She was like any other college girl. She was so Stylish.. she can’t see herself in the mirror but she KNOWS she is Beautiful. She KNOWS she CAN travel alone in Mumbai without having physical eyesight.

She inspired me to be myself. Be myself the way I am. She encouraged me to be a lonely but confident traveler. She made me thank everything I have. She made me feel grateful for being able to see her.

Her bus came and I couldn’t ask her name but if I have to describe her I will call her ” SELF CONFIDENCE PERSONIFIED “…a timely sent guide from the universe to show me the way.

By Tejal Shukla

Tejal Shukla is a Yoga Instructor, Writer and a Mother of a wonderful 9 year old son

If you would like to have your story featured please send in your entries to thepositivemedia@gmail.com

 

‘Tis all about perspective…

Talk about perspective and you find quotes tossed around like confetti! Simply put, perspective matches one thing, situation or view against the other as end of the day, there are no absolutes in a universe so relative. I don’t pretend to know any more than the average person on the street, so I’ll refer to a quote practically everyone has heard, said and even felt one time or the other.

It is a well-worn cliche, the grass is always greener on the other side. At some point, we all have sighed and wished, if only we were a little taller, smarter, richer, better looking, we could have been this man or woman or say, if we were born in another place, had a different upbringing, exposed to an alternate lifestyle, received more chances, we could have done that! Although we can understand and appreciate the law of cause of effect, we often forget, in the true sense, there is no coincidence and that we consciously or unconsciously create every single circumstance in life….where we are or what we are today is not partly or entirely cause of genes, family or luck (that we have attracted as well) whether we choose to believe it or not.

It is interesting, on one hand Einstein said, ‘God does not play dice’ and on the other, ‘Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous!’ This may sound contradictory but I suppose, he meant though the natural law is mathematical, good fortune is also what we earn, cause of our sincerity irrespective of whether we succeed or fail in our eyes or in front of others. In either case, notice the subtle but perfect balance of energy.

Beg to differ? No worries. I’m too busy growing my own grass, to notice yours…

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Please feel free to share your perspective on thepositivemedia@gmail.com. You might be featured next!

Bhaskar Dutta is a self-help author and IT specialist based in London.

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