“𝒜 𝓁𝑜𝓉 𝒾𝓈 𝒷𝓇𝑒𝓌𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒷𝑒𝓉𝓌𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝒞𝑜𝒻𝒻𝑒𝑒 𝒞𝓊𝓅𝓈 …𝐿𝑜𝓋𝑒, 𝒞𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓉𝒾𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓎 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝐿𝒾𝒻𝑒.”
ME n U Café inaugurated its first outlet in Munawarabad area of Srinagar City in August, 2018. Ever since the cafe has become one Hot Spot of youngish valley to brew their ideas and laughter together over a cup of coffee and finger-licking quick eats.
Srinagar enjoys its bunch of trendy cafes, with the youth asking for more from the capital city of heavenly country, in terms of the things they can do outside of their classrooms. There are fewer establishments that could make one’s teenage child, or middle aged parents feel entirely at home, and Me n U café is just one of those places.
Me n U Café’ is owned by the Srinagar based lawyer, Mehvish Zargar, her business partners Yasir Altaf and Imtiyaz Rashid. Comprising of an assortment of continental cuisine, the café is usually extremely vibrant, and plays host to a multitude of demographics. “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.
A number of women lately are breaking stereotypes and venturing into fields traditionally dominated by men. Mehvish Mehraj Zargar too, is contributing to change the dynamics by becoming the first ever woman café entrepreneur in Kashmir. In a patriarchal society, where all avenues of employment are dominated by men, the idea of a Male chauvinist Business Sector in valley doesn‘t augur well with this lawyer-turned businesswomen, who has set up her own café, ME‘n‘U Café‘ in Bemina area of Srinagar City. Sudden loss of her father when she was just seven, didn‘t deter her dream of being an independent woman. Talking about her initial days into the venture, Mehvish says, “I faced a lot of opposition in the beginning but I paid no attention to them and kept myself oriented towards my goals”.
Today, her retro-look café is a hub for teens and young adults to unwind themselves with Pizza, Pasta, chicken sausages, kababs, rolls to compliment authentic coffee, other hot and cold beverages and much more, all served with a smile amidst a soothing ambience of the café.
Recipient of Faeezah award for her contribution to “Being an asset of the society and the agent of the positive change”, she believes “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 instills a faith in them to take a step forward towards their dreams as well”.