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Today I would like the world to know my story. Where else to begin but with my family background. My grandfather was the founder of a Bank in Bangladesh known as Standard Bank. My grandmother was from a family of Rai Bahadurs in Kolkata. My Father is a Mechanical Engineer from JU, My aunts have been both teachers in South Point and St. Xaviers. My uncles have worked for ITC and Siemens. And me, I was the Black sheep of the family. These people are all from my paternal side as I don’t know anything much about my maternal side except my grandfather was in the Army, my aunt is a lecturer in JU and the uncle was a photographer in US with National Geographic the magazine.

blog pic 1My journey began with some spontaneous decisions I made in my youth. After completing college from Bangalore I was supposed to go to the US for further studies but instead I sold my guitar and travelled from Bangalore to Bombay by bus. I set up my base at Churchgate station and sold the Midday newspaper always mentioning who was the Midday ‘mate’ a semi porn pic of women to the men who bought the paper from me. After three days I managed to save enough to make the initial deposit payment as a p g in Bandra. Then came the search for jobs, a career really.

blog pic 2I got into advertising almost by default (as that was the first job available). I started working with Anjan Chatterjee (Oh Calcutta and Mainland China) who only ran an advertising agency then. I worked my butt off to be almost recognised the most prolific performer by the industry in the 80’s, I stayed in advertising and marketing till the end (25 years). I did a stint at the UAE in between for about three years working for the German Military.

Advertising burns you out, at least it did me. I took a sabbatical and came down to Kolkata, my roots. This is a city which has been a mixed bag of emotions for me. It took away my mother at fourteen months…spent most of my schooling in Shillong and Panchgani and college in Bangalore. Thereafter I was not certain what to do. One thing was for certain though. I would never ever work for anybody anymore.

blog pic 4At this point of time I only wanted to do something which would refresh the minds of people worldwide about a repackaged INDIA. I wanted to go to the roots. The roots of something that was completely INDIAN and no one could ever question that. So I started my research of Indian Hand-loom and Handicrafts. First on the computer then by physical travel for a period of four years, living in a jeep. My jeep ‘Nueva’.

blog pic 5I got to grassroots and artisans and weavers the country over from a population of 35 million of these people. I learnt that there was no market place for these people from a Mao infested area in Odisha or the more cultured Bishnupur. From the hills or Nagaland to a more women driven weaving business in Gujarat and Punjab. They did not have a market place. One place where the Indian ex pats could come to and shop for anything distinctly Indian. Buddha Has been a brand. A brand comes from a thought of giving back to people like Dashrath Majhi who no one knew at that time from Gaya and how he carved his native hillock just to create a road for his ailing wife. That same village now Handcrafts Buddha Statues which get taken to Sanctum Sanctorium at Bodh Gaya and are Blessed by monks or ‘Bhantes’ as they are known. The beyond comes from everything else which is Indian.

And of course Buddha And Beyond (B&B) also has the attitude of being like Mark’s and Spencer’s (M&S).
In between I got swindled ( for some of you who have read my story Betrayed earlier ) by my ex boss of all my life’s savings. But that is another story…

blog pic 3I took it on myself come what may I would start B&B no matter what. And start it did. With help from my father, Subrata Datta and a few close friends, some friends who stood by me through thick and thin now for the last four years it is ON. We have been through it all but because I know what is my vision for it. And surely B&B had a lot of believers as well as people who thought it was just a pipe dream. Today B&B is viewed in places I would least expect as a Founder and Indian Handicrafts and Hand-loom have found a way to reach little towns in USA with even a population of just 30000 people. So B&B becomes a market place even before Craftsvilla or Indianroots. We have been associated with Taj Khazana, indianroots, Amazon, Exotic India Novica a Nat Geo venture and many more right from its inception,

People who know anything about me know I am musically inclined but have my love for Country music and my love for dogs. Yes, I have been betrayed by various people in the past. But every time I took a step back and I kept on moving ahead…

Tomorrow I don’t know what it holds for me, but today sure is the best day of my life.


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