Good Indian Girl, Sort Of: Mousumi Shaw
I currently reside in:
Austin, TX with frequent work trips to SF
What your favorite hangout in Austin:
Austin: Being out on Town Lake and the bars on Rainey Street since I can take Tulsi, my American Eskimo with me, to both. In San Francisco it’s The Coastal Trail. What’s the common theme? I need to be in nature and near water!
I currently work as a:
An Entrepreneur and Founder of Sikara & Co., a modern fusion design company. During my travels throughout the world (41 countries and counting), I’m an avid photographer. I use my shots for inspiration working with a team of designers to create cool Modern Fusion Jewelry. We get our inspiration from architecture, food, textiles, people and culture. For example, our Brazilian Collection in inspired by the glitz and glam of Rio and Carnival and the architecture found along the walk way in Ipanema. Then the Amazon inspires the more nature inspired collection.
I do this because:
I get to combine my passion for global travel, art, business and giving back. I also love working with and developing my ambitious and passionate team. Sikara is a mix of people who are fashionistas and folks who want to save the world. We’ve had former Peace Corp volunteers, Fulbright Scholars and volunteers in Nicaragua, along side design and merchandising fashionistas. We also get really involved in the communities (both local and global) like Room to Read, March of Dimes, Paramount Theatre, etc. Right now we’re working with journalist Seema Mathur, to raise awareness about the atrocities that happened in Liberia. Together, we’ve created the Camp72 Necklace. For every necklace sold, we send $100 to Liberia to educate Glady’s (the girl who the documentary follows), and eventually we will be educating others as well. It’s important to having a core purpose that we’re passionate about.
What are some Indian traditions you still follow?
Oh, there are so many things that become integrated in your daily life! Taking off my shoes in the house….doing a little prayer, being thankful and offering to God when I get something new…cooking Indian food for dinner parties…if I step on paper or a book, I touch it and then my head and heart (since you’re not supposed to step on knowledge)..being respectful of elders. And I love eating with my hands, Bengali style!
Bollywood or Hollywood, and why?:
Like my jewelry, I like the fusion! Slumdog, Namesake, etc. I have to say, when I saw the movie, Three Idiots, I finally felt like Bollywood had come a long way! Actually being Bengali, I watched some of the classics (Apu Trilogy) when I was growing up and Bengali films are totally opposite from the traditional Bollywood movies. Bengali movies, which seem to have a trend of being depressing and serious, have incredible character development, twists in plots, etc. They are very intelligently made movies. Generally, I probably watch more Hollywood!
Shawshank Redemption, The Game, anything with an unexpected twist or something completely funny like Something About Mary.
What’s your favorite thing about Indian culture?
The warmth and how much family cares and matters. Although sometimes when I was growing up, the love and expectations could sometimes be overwhelming, I would tell myself, that I’m glad my family cares too much than not at all. I feel lucky that Indian families are so involved and loving. At the end of the day family matters most!
What’s one piece of advice your parents have given you that should probably be or are abiding by?
Don’t wait to do tomorrow, what can be done today. As you never know what will happen tomorrow. Very true and I try to live by this.
So are you a Good Indian Girl?
In the mix of “Sort of” and “Maybe”. I feel like I’m a pretty good blend of the East / West. Some friends tell me, I’m such a good Indian daughter, and then others tell me I’m really progressive. So that’s out for the jury.