I do get lot of trolls targeting me on Facebook in Kashmir. “There were people who used to criticize me initially saying you are a girl and you won’t be able to do it but if you focus your energies towards your goal, then these things don’t matter,”
Ground Report | Wahid Bhat
The new union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has given country thousands of hardworking girls who have reached the pinnacle of success. What makes their stories more endearing is their journeys were replete with obstacles which they overcame successfully.
Mehvish Zarger co-founded of Me ‘n’ U Café in Srinagar became the first ever woman café entrepreneur in Kashmir.
Mehvish Zarger explained her love for food that compelled her to open a restaurant and become the first girl in Kashmir to open a restaurant, there were a lot of trials and tribulations she had to face since childhood” she said.
“There are so many girls here who have such big dreams and they have the capability to fulfill them. So, if I fulfill my dream and show them that it is a possibility, then it instils a faith in them to take a step forward towards their dreams as well.” Mehvish said.
Talking about why she took up law, she said that she never wanted to become a lawyer. “Law has been my passion, but practising law was never a plan. I also want to go for higher studies in law, but never wanted to convert it into a profession,” she admits.
“My mother wanted me to become a doctor, but I chose law then she wanted me to pursue a career in law but then I wanted to start my own café. I had to make her understand that while I want to study law further but I can do that along with managing a business,” Zarger added.
She came up with this idea of starting up a café last year in October. She started Me ‘n’ U in February in partnership with her brother’s friend, Yaser Altaf.
“There were people who used to criticize me initially saying you are a girl and you won’t be able to do it but if you focus your energies towards your goal, then these things don’t matter,” she added.
While it did affect Zarger but she says that when you have the determination to do what you set out to do, then that’s what stays.
“I wanted to run a place where all age groups could enjoy. Which is why our customers come from a cross section of age groups,” says Mehvish.
Mehvish seems to relish the life of a restaurateur and sees herself completely occupied by the functioning of her establishment. What M n U café also represents is a paradigm shift in Kashmiri Business ownership. A woman of substance, Mehvish owns and runs the establishment in a City where women have just begun shedding traditional gender roles.
“I do get a lot of trolls targeting me on Facebook and other parts of the internet, asking me to stick to my gender roles. But I don’t let all the hate bother me. In fact, I’d expected a lot more hate than I’m currently getting,” she confessed. Undeterred, Mehvish moves on to realise her dream of opening a second outlet in the City soon.
While running her cafe, Mehvish is also continuing with her studies, doing an LLM course at Central University of Kashmir. Not only has she she inspired young Kashmiris to realise their passion, but has also given back to people in the place she calls home by creating jobs for others.