Anusaya Nath

Living with Mother Durga the year-round

Anusaya Nath lives with Mother Durga every day, not just during the Durga Puja festival. Pass by her house in Fakirpur village of Odisha’s Keonjhar district, and you get the lovely smell of bread baking from seven in the morning to six in the evening.

Joy Maa Durga is the brand under which Anusaya, 50, sells the bread. Fakirpur is a village transitioning to a town, so local sales are good. They have no competitors in the area.

Anusaya got the idea of making bread from her husband Surendra, who used to work for a bread dealer with a factory and got to see bread-making firsthand. They began their bakery in 1999, shortly after they got married.

In 2019, she took a loan from the Anandapur branch of Village Financial Services to buy machines to knead the dough and slice the finished bread. They had a large room in their house, which became the bread “factory”, and they built a wood-fired oven to bake the bread.

They employ 12 workers, paying each Rs 450 a day. Packing is done manually. They also make biscuits and snacks akin to Kurkure, so their range is from Rs 5 to Rs 30.

Her husband deals with the suppliers and dealers and uses his two Tata Magic small vehicles to carry stuff. He also does the accounts. They are left with about Rs 30,000 a month after all costs.

Anusaya has a daughter, 23, who dropped out of school after doing Class 10, and a son who studied up to Class 12 and now helps his grandfather run their grocery. Anusaya had dropped out after class 5, so she was determined that her children would do better. For Anusaya, bringing up two kids and running her home bakery was no big deal.

They had taken the VFS loan around six months before the COVID19 lockdown that began in March 2020, During the first shutdown, the bakery slowed down a bit the grocery’s income helped.

Published on Oct 11, 2021 | Updated on Apr 13, 2022