No Mashpo Momos!
We looked at each other and then again tried to pry apart the firmly frozen lump of 100 mashpo momos. There was no way of getting the momos apart without tearing off the skin and exposing the fillings.
For a fleeting moment I wished I had not had a brainwave and created the poster which screamed: “Introducing for the first time in town – mashpo momos.”
There were no mashpo momos!
It was Veggie Mamas’ first day of holding a stall, first day of doing business in our lives.
“You have to prepare the momos a day earlier, deep freeze them and put them in plastic bags. Otherwise there is no way you will be able to deal with the rush. The momos will not stick together once they are frozen,” our well wishers had told us. What we had not bargained for was that we might have removed the momos too early from the trays and put them together in plastic bags before they had frozen to the required degree.
So here we had in front of us a lump of 100 mashpo momos staring in our faces.
Except for the “buffer items” including chocolates, jelly cups, chewing gums and instant noodles we had nothing to sell. It had been a cool morning so our Mango Tango and Orangy Orange Tang juices had not seemed like saleable items. We sat looking a bit lost amidst the rush of all the sales that our neighbours were doing with other traditional food items.
Then suddenly Kumari’s voice broke through, “ Kesang, there is such a crowd at the drinking water place. Maybe we should bring out the Tang juice now.” By then I was ready for any kind of action.
I went to the kitchen to get the chilled Mango Tango and Orangey Orange Tang juice. In the kitchen, Dorje and Tsering had a brainwave. They told me that Dorje was going to create mashpo parathas (fried bread) out of the mashed mashpo momos.
I went around with one jug of chilled juice and plastic tumblers asking the people sitting around if they wanted some juice. We were soon refilling the jugs.
Just around tea time when people were going through a second round of hunger pangs, the mashpo parathas came hot and sizzling. We started selling them literally like hot cakes.
The mind is really a strange creature:
Kumari and Tsering took care of the accounts. The morning after our first day at business, they sat down and calculated the turnover for the first day – a grand total of NRs.2200/- (USD 25 appx.) No, this is not a typing error, there are no extra zeros.
NRs.2200/- for three days’ work of a team of four people with family supporters !!! Three people who were doing business for the first time in our lives !!! We had just covered the cost of the stall for the day…everything else was in loss.
Rewind to the day before when at one point we literally did not know whether to cry or laugh, to pack up and leave….in comparison even with running a loss we were elated.
We had kicked a disastrous moment around and were actually gaining ground towards the goal, even if it was a bit in the distance.
The very first night, even though we were dead tired, we discussed our ‘strategy’ for the next day. We would work with fresh ingredients and prepare on the spot.
On the second day, as the crowd did not start until after 11 a.m. I went around the four floors of the shopping mall where we had the stall, distributing flyers about our stall and inviting people to come around their lunch time. We had fresh colourful poster made – very amateurish one but it attracted attention.
A few days after the event was over, we finally calculated our income, we had a total turnover of NRs.26,000. Our costs were unrealistically high at NRs.25,000. But we also had our “buffer items” left almost in totality.
We recovered our monetary investment. We did not get financial returns for our week’s hard work, forget about profit.
We had gained confidence that we could make it. As the saying goes, we learned about business what they could not have taught us in Harvard.
The biggest compliment we received was the promoter of the event coming to tell us, “People are coming from all over the shopping mall asking where the ‘mashpo momos’ are.” If the fame of mashpo momos spread through the shopping mall within the first three days of our business, the sky is the limit!!!
More Veggie Mama Stories:
- Losing a bit of compassion
- No Mashpo Momos
- The Veggie Mamas’ Dream
- My First Shot at Becoming - Vegetarian
- Mashpo Momo on the Go!
- Thank you my son
- About Veggie Mamas
Try the Mashpo Momo Recipe tonight!