India Abroad September 23, 2016
Lifestyle change is an expression I ca- me across only recently, to be pre- cise, at a doctor’s office. Going through my husband’s numbers his
doctor suggested he makes some changes,
which he called a ‘lifestyle’ change. Not really
paying much attention (nor comprehending) we nodded our way out of his office.
Little did I know then that it wouldn’t be
long that one decision on his part would
bring about a significant change in both our
My husband decided to quit his job of 14
years and join our son-in-law in a new restaurant venture. It’s not that this came out of
the blue; our son-in-law has been discussing
the idea with my husband since the past
year. I listened through all their plans and
strategies, even put my two cents in when
required and put all of it at the back of my
mind as a distant dream (if at all we could
call it one).
No one either in his family or mine had
ever been a business person. Both his father
and mine held salaried jobs and we were
always certain that was the way to go. For
me, having a job meant security and stability,
whereas businesses seemed to be rather risky
and have their pitfalls.
So, when my husband actually handed
over his resignation and said he was done
with ‘jobs’ once and for all, realization kicked
in full force. All hell broke loose in my mind;
even though I tried my best to act supportive
and encouraging, panic and anxiety took
over and I turned into an emotional mess.
I tried to come to terms with the changes
that usually accompany a new restaurant
venture. The shift in timings seemed to me
the most drastic. I had been cautioned that
he may have to be at the restaurant till late
hours, there would be no weekends, or holi-
days for the beginning months. In short, the
life as I had known until now would be offi-
I could see that my husband was trying to
be understanding, but I couldn’t shake off
the feeling that it would have to be mostly
me trying to adjust to this huge ‘lifestyle
change.’ Up until now, most of our social
gatherings would be on weekends, and our
quick trips and weekend getaways with
friends, all of that would have to change.
My daughters tried their best to cheer me
up by pointing out that now would be the
time to become more independent, do my
own things, pursue my hobbies, or even get
an evening job! They pointed out that I
would be spending more time with him in
the mornings as he would not be leaving as
early as he used to. They even suggested we
could spend some special time having breakfast together. I know they were so sweet, trying their best to make me feel good, but my
anxiety was only getting worse.
My best friend understood how I was feeling and was my biggest advocate. She
encouraged me to do all the things I never
had time for earlier, listened to my doubts
and woes, however unreasonable they might
My daughters were my sounding boards
and so patient, trying their best to make me
confident with each passing day.
My husband, even though not as vocal, was
nursing his own doubts.
The transition from a regular desk job to a
totally different work atmosphere was not
easy for him either. He was actually trying his
very best to adjust on his own, not really vent-
ing for fear of upsetting me all the more. The
timings were odd, him being a morning per-
son his whole life, going to sleep late and
waking up later than usual was something he
had to get used to.
Making such a lifestyle change at this point
of our lives, when people generally think of
relaxing (with our children settled down) was
not a very smooth transition.
However, as the restaurant took shape and
menus were planned, best of all, when the
acclaimed Indian chef Suvir Saran joined us,
Tapestry was born.
My husband too evolved into
this new hands-on person I’ve
never known him to be.
Just like nurturing a new-born,
the restaurant needed tender
loving and lots of care to get it
started. The occasional glitches
that plague every new business
didn’t skip us either.
On one particularly very hot
and humid day when suddenly
the air-conditioning stopped
working, he took matters into his own hands!
Mustering up his youthful days, he climbed
a 30-foot metal ladder to the roof top, ginger-
ly skipping over pipes and wires, and showed
the technicians where the AC units were!
He proudly announced that he had to
jump a roof top or two to access the lines of
the AC unit. I couldn’t believe my ears!
Was this the same person who held a desk
job for 30 years, and hadn’t lifted a finger
except to use the keyboard?
The most surprising part was he said he
had never felt better. All the physical exercise
was exhilarating and he felt liberated!
Between troubleshooting and visiting
‘Bowery’ (a wholesale market in New York,
which reminded him of Bara Bazaar in
Kolkata) to purchase utensils and cutlery for
the restaurant, every day was a learning
There is never a dull moment where he can
sit and contemplate about his new surroundings and reflect on this change; he has
adapted to it wonderfully.
His financial background combined with
his newfound enthusiasm for physical
activity (climbing stairs) is serving the
Tapestry team well! I even hear from my
son-in-law that he has become the well-loved father figure of the restaurant, solving everybody’s problems!
Used in reference to an ‘intricate or complex combination of things or sequence of
events’, the word Tapestry quite literally
became a symbol of this lifestyle change.
Tapestry, an amalgamation of global flavors with subtle hints of Indian spices,
quickly generated buzz all around New
York City. As the publicity mounted, and
reservations poured in, my anxieties,
doubts, and fears quickly subsided to the
background. I let myself step back and
watch this sequence of events in my own
life come together.
It has been three months since the opening, and I could not have been any more
proud of my son-in-law for initiating and
encouraging my husband into this venture,
and finally making me realize that it feels
pretty good to be a business person’s wife!
Oh, and did I mention that his timings
are actually not that bad, and I still do have
a social life. n
For Ruby Banerjea
and her family, a
Tapestry quite literally
became a symbol of
Roni Mazumdar, right, Ruby and Ashish Banerjea’s son-in-law, and chef Suvir Saran are co-owners of Tapestry in New York City.