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This feature on entrepreneurship is extraordinary. It begins with two young girls, Anushri Jain, 20 and Talikumla Aier, 21 years old who dreamed of starting a venture together. Friends since the sixth standard, the two best friends were inseparable and would even wear identical clothes all the time. Still in college, Anushri was pursuing MBA at ICFAI University Dimapur and Talikumla pursuing Law studies at City Law College, Dimapur.
On October 2nd, 2016 they launched a Café at West Dimapur. The place turned out to be exactly as they had hoped- spacious, well-lit, and the amazing décor was the hype in town. Both girls loved eco-friendly, handmade, recyclable, and quirky junks so they decided to make it affordable and low-cost. They used twigs to decorate the ceiling, converted old magazines, light bulbs and bottles into attractive showpiece. They also brought in elements of both their Ao and Marwari community and combined it beautifully. They wanted the place to be all about friendship and named it “Café BAE” BAE being an acronym for “Before Anyone Else”.
The café serves all-vegetarian food. Customers especially love the Maggi (Veg/BBQ/King Chilli), the Cafe BAE fried Momos, and for beverages the Masala or Elaichi Tea, Iced Tea, Oreo Shake etc.
Sadly, fate took a sharp turn and Anushree Jain passed away after a brief illness. For Talikumla, it was a most difficult time, to lose her best friend and to continue running the place which was a mark of their friendship. “Everything about the place reminded me of my best friend and I wanted to shut it down. But my parents and hers encouraged me saying that I have to keep it running in her memory. Today, I feel like her blessings are here. My heart and soul is in this café,” she shared. At present, Late Anushri’s brother helps her to run the café.
With the Café picking up popularity, she shares that she has plans to change the décor and add newer stuffs. But the moment is bittersweet for her as she explains, “With the absence of my friend, somehow the push and strength is not there. It’s also not fun without her by my side.”
As a first-time entrepreneur, Talikumla shared, “You’re never too young or too old to start entrepreneurship. Anyone can do it, provided you have the willpower. It was not easy for us to convince our parents in the beginning because we are young and still pursuing our college education.”
She is also candid about the highs and lows of the place and states, “Somewhere along the line, I think people are coming mostly for the décor and ambience which is great! But I’m going to work on the food menu and focus on serving better food. It’s also a young workforce at Café BAE because I want to encourage young people to work hard and believe that we should do everything to support each other.”
She wishes to thank everyone for the love and support Café BAE has received so far, saying, “It would not have been popular without our customers and well-wishers.”