Who is Raaj Brar? Some people might have their judgements about who I am, only a few really know who I am. I immigrated with my family to Canada in the early 80s. I was the youngest in my family and the only boy among 5 girls (sisters). The environment of the household I grew up in was very unstable. A lot of violence, mostly from my father against my mother and sisters. I must of changed 4 to 5 schools per year for the first 3 years being in Canada and had no clue what was going on. No one in our household exactly cared to know how I was doing or what I was learning at school. My mother was a strong woman, who lacked education, intelligence and knowledge. She grew up in a village in India and only went to grade 4. Her family couldn’t afford to send her to the city for schooling.
Fast forward this trend for another few years, until I was 8 years old and my mother finally separated from my father. We spent that summer living on a trailer on a farm in BC. The whole entire family cramped into a little room. I remember my sisters crying cause all their nails and hands were ruined due to working in the fields picking fruits so that we can save money to get a proper roof over our heads. At least the violence was over in our life. But I felt as lost as ever. I had no one I can connect with and I felt no one wanted to connect with me. My sisters had each other to relate with and I had me, myself and I.
Finally found a school in grade 5 in Abbotsford, BC, called North Popular Elementary. It was a barn when I went there. It totally looks cool now. I was tall then and took interest in music. And was always doing something to gain more attention towards me. From there, I found basketball to be my refuge as I pounded the pavement of my driveway till midnight most nights bouncing the ball wanting to dunk it like Jordan. What I learned through basketball was the foundation layer that I can apply to anything I set my mind to in life. The mistake anyone can make is to judge me or tell me I can’t. There are some taunts I just don’t entertain, as they come from people how have achieved nothing in life and are meant as pure evil intentions.
In 1996 I started to get my feet wet with media, marketing, advertising, branding. I went on from there to start a few magazines, then online websites and so fourth. Everything was connected with the idea that what I was doing was connecting with people. Then everything changed in 2007 with the news that my father passed away. I didn’t feel anything cause I didn’t know the man. I only knew the horror he brought in my world as a child. Outside of that, I didn’t know him or wanted to be anything like him.
Dark energy, that is what came my way after my fathers death. My family, friends, everyone I thought I could count on, turned on me. Mostly for the greed of money. As for some bizarre reason he left a will and I was the only named beneficiary. Money does funny things to people. And I felt I got even more pushed into darkness than I imagined or hoped for. I am pretty sure I wasn’t the only one that had been down this dark sad ass road. Well, I didn’t stay there too long.
I came charging out with a plan of action to make a lot of noise. I created a lot of buzz with the websites I wanted to create and at one point they were reaching over 400 million people monthly. I don’t think I stopped moving even to rest for a bit since 1999. It was a non stop 17 years+. So this year 2016 is going to be a year I take a easy a bit. Smell the roses. Just take everything in, as I know it won’t last too long.
In April 2000, I received a letter from the Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien, congratulating on promoting the heritage of Canada.
In May 1998 I made a generous contribution to the Burnaby RCMP fund raising efforts.
In 2009, I received an award in the “Internet” category from the Canadian Ethnic Media Association for my inspiring series of editorials of young women in the community.
In 2015, I along with my business partner Aneliya gave back to “Youth Without Shelter”. Here is their thank you note below:
Our efforts was to give back in a way that makes a difference. Speaking of personal experience as a child jumping from home to home as my parents fought; effected me in ways I can’t even explain. This is just my personal reason. There are so many reasons why our youth maybe without a shelter. I always believed that no matter if you have a lot or just a bit extra. Always give back to the community, cause you never know how your kindness can help someone in ways you can’t imagine.
Not everything needs to be tracked and noted down for acknowledgement. I remember moving to Toronto in 2001, with no money, hustling hotel owners to let me stay in their hotel in exchange for marketing their brands; eating the hotel free breakfast everyday of bread, jam and juice. I had first had experience of hard life, eating scraps. But still I had managed to get a roof over my head. There were people worse off than me, so I had nothing to complain about. And still in those times, I made time to drive up in rental cars to give blankets to the homeless in winter living in the streets. I always told them, keep a space for me, cause if things don’t work out, I’ll need a buddy to stay with. That always made them laugh. But I was being serious. I did all this and nobody knew about it for years. And I didn’t want anyone to know about it. Cause the silent energy all around me, knew what I was doing and going through. I came into this world empty handed and I am going to leave empty handed. Everything in between is just a game!
In 2009, after the success of my ethnic online magazine. I started a mainstream online fashion magazine called ‘Fashion Style Mag’. That project soon took off and within a year, it had massed over 150,000 followers on Facebook. At one point, the brands that I had built and started were reaching over 400 million people monthly. And Fashion Style Mag Facebook page had over 5.7 million followers, becoming one of the largest Fashion & Beauty online magazines globally.
In 2009, while I was launching the mainstream fashion magazine, I was alone, hopelessly in love with the idea of love. Still waiting for my true love to knock on my door. So while I was waiting for all that to happen, I decided to lift myself up by getting creative and started messing with beats of music. One thing led to another and after days or jaming, mixing, editing on my computer. I composed two instrumental songs. The songs were inspired by the idea that even if your not in love yet, you can push it out in different ways. Below is a link to the music. The music in on iTunes, Spotify and every other major label that sells music online.
Link to preview of ‘Romance & Love‘
I am in the mist of finishing up a book that I have been writing for the past few years. It should be done before the holiday season this year 2016. I will post more on it here when its ready for public release.