From Rugs to Riches
The hardships faced by this carpet merchant during his growing up years only made him a better man who now finds joy in giving.
By Sunaina Anand
Walk into Abid H Mir’s office in Lotto Carpets Gallery, Dempsey and the first thing that you notice is a diya lit in front of pictures of Saraswati and Ganesh placed right next to the sign of Islam, while the wall next to it is adorned with pictures of Guru Nanak, Jesus and Buddha.
This ambience is completely in tune with the philosophies of the owner who believes that humanity comes before religion. Much of his philosophies have been shaped by the struggling times he has seen in his life, “If you have had enough rough patches in your life, have been ill treated, then you’ll either grow up to be rebellious or benevolent - I chose to be kind,” he says.
His life began on an almost tragic note as Mir’s father after remarriage had abandoned his pregnant mother. Although his father was a wealthy carpet merchant, the mother and infant son were left in poverty.
His mother worked as a nurse to put him through Cathedral Missionary School in Lahore, one of the best schools there. The carpet merchant today believes that all the good that he has learnt has been from his Christian teachers. His mother’s salary as a nurse equalled Mir’s school fees hence she had to work as a maid during her free time to earn extra money for food and shelter. “I never had any new clothes as a kid and only wore castaways; in my summer vacation I worked as a labourer to earn as little as Rs 3 a day,” he adds. Juggling school in the mornings and his menial work during the day, he’d rush home to finish his homework for the next day. But with determination, he acquired a degree in arts in 1975.
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