‘This is my own, my native land,’ these words by Sir Walter Scott perfectly encapsulate the sentiment that most of the Indian diaspora feels when they sojourn to foreign lands. Settling abroad is a big decision and usually one that is taken for reasons of furthering careers and having a better life and opportunities for children. Yet, somehow, even after having the picture postcard home, the perfect garden with mandatory lawn, two cars in the garage, the career on an upward trajectory…something always seems missing, a piece of the puzzle that has been lost along the way. Anup Nair and Shailesh Jain, felt it too – the void and disconnect that constantly dulled the sheen of their achievements. They had everything going for them and in fact were living the ‘NRI in America’ dream but though the grass appeared greener on their side of the fence, it all just wasn’t enough.
They felt the tug of their roots, the call of the land…the easy banter with friends who speak a common language, the sense of belonging that can only be felt in an Indian neighbourhood – where everyone knows everyone and their uncle’s dog for good measure, where advice and help are meted out to total strangers in the most nonchalant manner and the local tea ‘tapri’ is the watering hole for sharing gossip and a ‘wada pav’. A life less sanitized, less formal, less politically correct; filled the warmth of genuine friendship and concern is what they craved and this is what finally pushed them to return to their ‘native land’ and start Mirraw.
Anup and Shailesh were in the unique position of having ‘been there, done that.’ Who better than them to know and understand what a displaced Indian would feel? The desperation to build an emotional connect and bridges with home – for ‘home’ would always be India. What better way to hold on to the precious ties with India and their culture than to have a piece of ‘home’ with them. This is what Mirraw is about, what it offers – not just material clothing and items for decor – but a chance to relive that feeling of belonging that has been lost to them. Clothes may or may not make the man but they certainly do define a culture and an ethnicity which people need to impart to their children. Festivities and their attached rituals are a legacy we share with our children. Time honoured traditions that have passed down through generations and are a part of our very DNA, ingrained in our sense of identity and underscoring our very existence. No matter where we go, no matter how many miles and oceans away we may be, our Indian-ness is a badge we wear with pride. It is this Indian-ness that Mirraw brings to the world – it is gift that Anup and Shailesh have crafted for not only the Indian diaspora around the globe but for every individual whose heart beats to the Indian rhythm.
There are so many Indians, living in Indian cities who complain that Western influences are taking their children away from their culture and heritage. Who want to relive the joy and the bonding that festivals promise and which has been lost in the rat race and the humdrum of city life. Mirraw offers them a chance of bringing home the grandeur and energy of festivities. An opportunity to get their children excited about their roots and appreciate that it is cool to ‘be Indian, wear Indian and feel Indian.’
Anup and Shailesh have not just founded Mirraw; they have given millions of Indians a reconnect with their roots – Come relive India with Mirraw.