Hi, I am Pooja. Ever since I was a little girl - I have identified with and celebrated everything “Pahadi”. I grew up in a large Kumaoni family in the Nainital District of Uttarakhand and my earliest childhood memories center around celebrating our regional festivals together and my mom dressing up in her kumaoni attire during these family gatherings. I attended a boarding school in Nainital which taught me the value of discipline, independence and gave me a handful of lifelong friends.
I started my career with a Brand Consultancy eleven years ago and in 2014, became the country Head of Marketing for one of the most popular international fashion retailers for women in India. I married the love of my life and together we had been raising our beautiful daughter while living our dream in the vibrant city of Delhi. In spite of our fulfilling urban lives and thriving careers, my husband and I would visit our families in Kumaon often, and with each visit I longed to return home to the Himalayas, always wishing for a stronger connection with my heritage.
The pandemic gave me the opportunity that I had been seeking subconsciously. In the summer of 2020, we decided to move back to our hometown - a small rural haven in the foothills of the Himalayas. This sudden change in lifestyle inspired me to start living a more conscious and sustainable life. A unique sense of freedom overcame me - as though I was set free to wander in the meadows of the mighty Himalayas and explore the bounty they have to offer. I wanted to share the cultural and natural wealth of Uttarakhand with the world.
That is how Bugyaal was born. It has been a couple of months since we launched our brand which is a tribute to the Heritage of Uttarakhand. Our mission is twofold: A. to create lucrative employment opportunities for local artisans and farmers so that they are not compelled to abandon their rural homes and migrate to the cities in search of livelihood B. Make the goodness of the Himalayas accessible to the urban dweller.
My journey so far has been very rewarding. What I love most about my life now is being surrounded by nature, living the simple life, picking fresh fruit and vegetables for our next meal from the small terrace farms in and around our home, foraging for unique herbs in the nearby woods, and most importantly, watching my daughter enjoy her childhood to the fullest. She loves playing on the farm and befriends all the cows, goats, chickens, cats and dogs she meets - watching her grow into an active, healthy and compassionate child brings me immense joy every day.
You can find me on Instagram: @bugyaal
Pooja Sharma Brijwasi
Founder - Bugyaal
Click on the link below to join Tulika in her interaction with Pooja, as she shares her inspiring journey on how she’s using her skills to give back to her home town!