13 Inspired Young Indians Who Chose Their Dreams Over Stability Share Their Stories [Vol. V]

13 Inspired Young Indians Who Chose Their Dreams Over Stability Share Their Stories  [Vol. V]

“My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results…but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it.”

 – George R. R. Martin

We believe you’re familiar with our fascination for those who lead double lives professionally, which we explored through the lives of different individuals across India. These are the guys burning the candle at both ends and doing a fine job at it. Then, there are those who choose to go off the deep end and vouch completely and irrevocably for their dreams (and no, they don’t get much sleep either). For these dreamers, we have another kind of respect, albeit an equally special one.

It takes immense courage—and a healthy dose of madness—to put an end to what is potentially a financially stable life, to pursue your real calling. So we scoured the space for individuals who have, at different points in their lives, taken a step back and re-evaluated what their dreams meant to them before deciding to throw their entire weight behind them. Here are 11 individuals who’ve truly followed their hearts, and won us over while at it.

[We take on this list yet again, since there’s no dearth of passionate dreamers and wanderers. If you missed the first few compilations we did, catch Vol. I,  Vol. IIVol. III and Vol. IV here. All names are in alphabetical order, and not presented in any order of preference.]

I. Akhil Chandra | Passionate. Adventurous. Technology Lover.

Who: 32-year-old Akhil  is the founder of Studio Mosaic, a full service mobile app studio, specialising in the three Ds: design, development and distribution (marketing) of mobile apps on the iOS App Store and Android Play Store.

Akhil completed his mechanical engineering from R.V College Of Engineering (RVCE), Bangalore, before returning to his home town Delhi to work with fidelity investments for a period of two years. Following this, he joined  the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi, to complete his M.B.A and was placed in Bharti Airtel as part of the prestigious Young Leader Management Training Programme. After completing the training, he spent a year in Guwahati and then Silchar in Assam as an area sales manager. He returned to Delhi to join Affle, a leading mobile app marketing and advertising company where he worked for two years on app marketing and product solutions. This is the time when his interest in mobile apps increased and he joined Paytm, where he managed the digital marketing and user acquisition activities for little over a year.

“I completed a total of eight years experience in the mobile ecosystem before starting Studio Mosaic in September 2013. I initially worked out of home for six months and then started looking out for co-working spaces near my home. Finally, in August 2014 I started going to ‘Social’ in Hauz Khas Village. My wife joined me in January 2015 and then in May 2015, I finally took up an office in SarvaPriya Vihar, which is also when I hired my first employee.”

“Dreams are the touchstones of your character.”

On his passion for entrepreneurship:

“It all started in August 2012, when I had just joined Paytm and got inspired after reading a book called App Empire by Chad Muretta, who was possibly the first app entrepreneur of the mobile world. After reading the book, I immediately signed up for an iOS developer account and started working on my first app called StickMe Notes. I managed this with my job at Paytm and used to put in hours at night and on the weekends. I had no coding or designing experience and app marketing was also a fairly new concept at the time. After a lot of ups and downs, and heartbreaks, I finally launched StickMe Notes in March 2013. It took me seven months to make. Today it is ranked in the top 250 in the US’ Productivity category having garnered over 200,000 downloads till date and makes a few hundred dollars every month.”

“This was the start of my entrepreneurial journey. I then went to publish a few more apps and it is something we do even today. This end-to-end experience in the app business and our early success in the App Store gave us the confidence to swiftly transform Studio Mosaic from a publishing studio to an app servicing studio catering to the design, development and marketing needs of budding entrepreneurs and enterprises alike.”

 The Biggest Challenge:

“The biggest challenge initially was to get my own apps made by outsourcing the design and development. This was easier said than done. I suffered numerous delays and setbacks. I had to finally give up on doing just this and evolved my thinking to transform Studio Mosaic into a service providing company. This, I think, has been my biggest learning. It doesn’t matter what you set out to do initially. With time and the evolving needs of the market, you have to keep adapting and changing the business dynamics and goals in order to succeed. Once you have taken the proverbial plunge, you have to make it happen, no matter what. And at times this means altering your business strategy and focus. This is when you have to be mature and flexible to keep moving forward.”

 One line that motivates him:

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul!”

II. Anakhemia | Black. White. Grey.

Who: Anakhemia is a DJ and electronic music producer. However, before this, she graduated with a degree as a dentist and was moving towards a career in public health and research. During her brief stint at practicing, she became disillusioned with the workings of the industry and one day found herself at a complete loss in terms of what she was doing. “I started running around in different directions, trying to figure out my purpose in life,” she says.

 “Dreams are realities waiting to manifest themselves, if you give them a second thought.”

On her passion for music:
“I’ve always flirted with music. I had been playing drums on and off and dabbing in lyrics for a while. I dreamt of a career as a DJ while I was in college and even sought advice from someone I trusted. He slammed my idea and I listened to him. When I was going through my disillusionment phase, I started writing about electronic dance music for a leading English newspaper in Saudi Arabia, and even started my blog, Verse 69. This resulted in me spending a lot of time hobnobbing with DJs and producers. Soon, I was dabbling in music production, as well. There is just so much to learn and every day is exhilarating,” she shares.
“Music is my way of trying to make sense of my journey and going back to childhood to heal and rediscover myself. Because by healing yourself first you heal the world. And the real basis of both medicine and music is just that. We actually don’t need pills. We need groundbreaking music. Some people may argue music as mere entertainment, but for me it’s a medium through which I can share ideas and emotions with people. That is powerful. Music is the antidote to the problems of the 21st century.”

The Biggest Challenge:
“I am my own biggest challenge. You have to keep reminding yourself why you are doing what you are doing. It is very easy to get sucked into realities that the world may project onto you.”

One line that motivates her:
“One day when I grow up, I’ll buy you the biggest diamond necklace you’ve ever seen.” These were the words of an emotionally and physically abused slum boy I treated once. Hardly eight years old, he used to make rotis in a dhaba at night. He gave me a pair of star chained earrings wrapped in a large leaf as a token of his love. I never saw him again, but he’s one of my special memories.

 III. Chandni Sinha | Mad. Risk taker. Believer.

Who: 30-year-old Chandini likes to describe herself as a “global citizen, a gypsy soul, and serial Snapchatter, who needs to explore at least one new country/city a year and is easily distracted by yoga and dancing.”

She currently works as a social media consultant for Lakme Fashion Week (IMGR), and this her second season with them. “This isn’t the profile I left my full-time gig for; but it gave me the perfect platform for networking with the right people and being part of an industry that I had always dreamt of. This project has taught me something new every single day and there was no reason good enough to not come back for it the next season.”

She graduated with a masters in International Public Relations and was a part of the PR world for about seven years in India and the UK. “My heart was always yearning to style people. I tried to follow my passion by assisting stylists over the weekends when I was working in London. But soon, after I moved to India, I jumped straight back into a joint venture PR agency as a co-founder,” she shares. “A year and a half later, I woke up one morning and thought, this is it, It’s now or never. I snapped out of the PR industry and started a style blog Msshinyshorts to start paving my way into fashion styling. I soon landed a short-term gig with Grazia, which gave me solid credibility to move on with some experience in my kitty. A couple of months later, I bagged Lakme Fashion Week’s Winter Festive 15 edition and there has been no stopping since.”


“Dreams can become a reality if you put your heart and soul to make them happen!”

On her passion for the fashion industry:

“I absolutely love what I am doing today. Being a part of the fashion industry and interacting with influencers was only a dream for someone who has had no formal education in fashion and is only a year old in this industry. I am still far away from the main goal of a becoming full-fledged fashion stylist, but I know I am on the right track to achieve it. Each day is a part of the learning curve and I couldn’t ask for more.”

The Biggest Challenge:  

“Stability and monetary satisfaction. Since I freelance, there is no guarantee of when the next project will fall through or the what will be the monetary state of affairs.”

 One line that motivates her:

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”- Marc Anthony

IV. Dipti Daryanani Ahuja | Mother. Total Foodie. Nerve-racking.

Who: 34-year-old Dipti is the co-founder of a sustainable clothing line for children called Love The World Today. Before she decided to follow her dream, she was working at The Nielsen Company as Associate Director-Consumer Insights, managing the Telecom business for the West.

“Moving from a settled corporate job into an entrepreneurial venture was a very tough decision for me. Moreover, I had been in the corporate world for a good ten years before I decided to take the plunge. Dismantling everything that was perfect and starting afresh has definitely been a complete roller coaster ride. But what the heck. Life is short and you surely don’t want to regret not doing something you really wanted to do.  It is essential to have drive, and a readiness to accept failure and kick-start each time you fail. There needs to be a mad rush in the head to get it right no matter what. And that’s what has always played in my mind while deciding to choose this path,” she shares.


“Dreams are a gentle nudge reminding you to be who you are.”

On her passion for entrepreneurship:

“This journey started with my sister, Dipna, and my search coming together. I was fed up of not being able to find clothes for my little one. I wanted clothes that were comfortable, non-synthetic and made of child-friendly fabric, yet spelt design. Whereas for Dipna, it was a simple question of ‘where does all the trash go’ and stumbling upon the fashion industry’s little secrets in her research. That made us backtrack and think about what goes into creating something. Can we ever stop consuming? What is the meaning of sustainability? Are we doing enough to make this world better? That is when we realised something needed to change and our journey with Love The World Today started.” she confides.

“It makes us happy to know that we have taken a big step for our little feet in the right direction, making quality clothing for kids in a socially and environmentally responsible way. We create clothes while caring for everyone and everything involved in the process. Because we want our kids also to care about the little things in life,” she adds.

The Biggest Challenge:

“More than a challenge, there is always the fear of failing as you are suddenly out of your comfort zone—and in an area of work where you have no experience. To top it all, you are always being watched.  It is a steady but uphill journey where you are trying to grasp so many new things on the way and growing as an individual at the same time,” she shares. “Once I dived in, I decided I am here to enjoy the journey, experience the learning, do something new and unknown. I may stumble during the course of the journey, but it will be beautiful. I know it’s not practical advice, but never lose the instincts and the craziness you have within. The strength you find within and the experiences you collect will always be greater than any regret.”

One line that motivates her:

“No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully…work with faith.” - Korsaren

To know more about what they do, you can visit their website. You can also follow their journey on Facebook.

V. Lucy Gadkari | Adventurous. Tenacious. Fun-loving

Who: 26-year-old Lucy worked for 18 months in an advertising agency and two years in a brand and design agency in Mumbai before she set out on her own journey. For the past 12 months, her startup, moodoo, has been her life.

“Before moodoo, I worked with the strategy team at FITCH, a WPP International design agency as the Insights and Trends Manager. My role was really varied and allowed me to work on devising brand strategies for a number of clients large and small, international and local,” she shares. “But I think that by the end of two years, I had learnt all I could from FITCH and was yearning for the next adventure. So when the idea for moodoo struck. We felt that it really had potential and I decided to give it all I had.”


“Dreams are where our imagination can run wild, naked and free.”

On her passion for entrepreneurship:

“My startup, moodoo, is a mobile app that is about to shake up the way we meet up with friends. The idea for moodoo started when we realised what a headache it is to organise a meet-up. Short of contacting your entire phone book, you have no idea about who’s free and in the mood to do what. Then the actual coordination typically cascades into a frustrating rally of endless messages back and forth—normally about which restaurant everyone wants to go to.”

“For me, nothing is more important than my friends. And no social media experience can replace having a great time with them in real life. So moodoo is really the embodiment of my passion to make that happen as often, simply and spontaneously as possible. Right now, I’m feeling a crazy rush of excitement, fear and adrenaline because after 12 months of development, we’re launching in January,” she adds.

The Biggest Challenge:

“I suppose the biggest challenge is to manage the leap from the safety of a corporate role to the no-safety-net environment of your own venture. It’s your own money, it’s your own idea and you have to learn as you go. It’s a lot of pressure. But that’s also the most rewarding thing about it! It’d also be nice to have some income. My shoe budget has definitely declined in the last year.”

One line that motivates her:

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music” – Friedrich Nietzsche

VI. Namrata Tiwari | Enthusiastic. Adaptive. Driven.

Who: 27-year-old Namrata is an apparel and lifestyle accessory designer currently working on a pilot project for It’s All Folk, the travelogue she maintains. “I started my career as an Associate Designer at DRVV by Dhruv Kapur, a fashion label in Delhi. When I felt like exploring design in different contexts and mediums, I joined Happily Unmarried. For almost a year, I was working for both, enjoying the best of both the worlds,” she says.

“Though there was immense learning at both companies, I could no longer derive purpose out of what I was designing. There were fellow designers from NID doing great work for the communities and here I was deciding what the colour of the season would be. What difference did it make in other people’s lives?” she muses. That is when she decided that she needed to do something different.


“Dreams are for real.”

On her passion for her travelogue:

“An indigenous culture and craft enthusiast, and a textile graduate in the first place, I always wanted to turn back to textiles to work with the craft communities. In early 2015 I finally packed my bags and landed in Shillong. Financed and mentored by Belgian designer Valerie Barkwoski, I worked as a volunteer at the Impulse Social Enterprises of Shillong for five months. Impulse works to provide sustainable livelihoods to women in the North East, thereby curbing illegal migration. Later, as their in-house designer, I worked with several cluster pockets of Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal, Nagaland and Meghalaya,” she shares.

“Somewhere in-between I started writing It’s All Folk because there are weavers beyond Varanasi and we need to tell their stories too. Working alongside the artisans has been awe inspiring and has given me a completely new perspective of design and sustainability. I truly believe design can act as a catalyst to socio-economic empowerment and I want to pursue this further.”

The Biggest Challenge:

“A near-empty bank account. I left a stable job right in my prime and all my savings got used up surviving on a shoestring salary in Shillong.”

One line that motivates her:

“Jonathan forgot about the world he had come from, that place where the flock lived with its eyes tightly shut to the joy of flight, using its wings as means to the end of finding and fighting for food “ – Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.

 You can follow her journey on Instagram.

VII. Rashi Agarwal | Free-Spirited. Creative. Determined.

Who: 27-year-old Rashi co-runs her own leather handbag company. For several years, after finishing university at London College of Fashion in 2012, she worked as a product designer for Hidesign. For two and a half years she worked as the Creative Head for their sister brand Holii, and as the Brand Extensions Designer for Hidesign. “I used to make bags for myself in my studio at home. My fiancé and partner Maurits Favier and I decided to start our own leather handbag company with one of the designs I made as the starting point. That bag is now in our first collection named Maus, after him.”

After several months of hard work and sleepless nights, they launched Raff earlier this month. Raff is a luxury leather handbag brand that offers simple designs that are contemporary and innovative. “Hidesign was my first job right after college. It was my dream job and I was so thrilled when I was accepted. Living in Pondicherry was a big plus as this place is magical—it is so different from other cities in India. I have learnt so much from my former boss. I learnt more about the leather and retail industry than any university could ever teach me. I also got to meet a lot of interesting and creative people and made many friends. All in all it was such a growth experience for me and I do not regret any of it.”


“Dreams are meant to be lived.”

On her passion for handbag designing:

“As amazing as my experience was, I was itching to have my creative freedom. I wanted my point of view as a designer to be out there for people to see. I have always been passionate about fashion and this is something I have always dreamed of doing. Coming from a business family, I had a lot of support from my parents to start my own brand. Also, I get to work and collaborate with my fiancé which is a lot of fun. After having worked so hard on it and seeing the initial positive responses of people, it is very rewarding. We have a long way to go and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The Biggest Challenge:

“Actually taking the plunge. To have the faith that we can do this and make it profitable. The comfort of steady money in the bank account every month is something you have to leave behind, which is very scary. But it is all worth it. One thing I have learned is there is never a good or a right time. The time is now. The sooner you start, the better.”

One line that motivates her:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” - Neale Donald Walsch

VIII. Ria, Anukriti and Priyasha | Innovators. Storytellers. Dreamers.

Who: Ria, Anukriti and Priyasha together form the team Beyond Routine, a trio of freelance choreographers, dancers and artists. It has been two years and three months since they decided to quit their jobs and dive headfirst into the unknown in order to follow their dreams.

“People have over time started looking at us as solution providers when it comes to art. We want to be (and are actively involved in) everything that is art-centric, fresh, and that offers a new experience. Individually, we have trained and have gained experience in various dance forms since we were kids. The enthusiasm of learning new and different styles is what keeps us going everyday and helps us in building newer ideas and concepts.”

From completely different backgrounds, their love for dancing brought them together.

Anukriti used to work in the marketing department of a reputed event management firm and handled clients like Nestle, GE, Canon and HT as regular accounts. “I loved my job and I was blessed with one of the best teams that one can hope to work with. It was intense, because of the volatile nature of an Event Management profile. I had long working hours, crazy deadlines, but my team made it all worth my while. But something was always missing. I learnt and I trained as a manager, but the dancer in my heart wouldn’t let go,” she shares.

Ria, on the other hand, decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in advertising and marketing after completing her Economics (Hons.) from Delhi University. “It was probably the best thing that happened to me. It gave direction to my creativity. I started working with an ad agency after that. First, in the servicing department and then I found my true love for designing. Being a self-taught designer, working in the arts department made me understand aspects of not just advertising but of marketing, ideating, conceptualisation and teamwork. Those long brainstorming sessions on cracking a brief will always be cherished,” she muses.

Priyasha worked for over four and a half years with a chain of Canadian hotels. “I was one of the three people who looked after India Global Sales for its 100+ hotels worldwide. Within a month into the company, I managed my first real international trip. That followed several more, covering many beautiful countries. Frankly, that was the best part about my job and I loved my company for that. I had great colleagues, spread all across the world, whom I have made good friends with. And I got along well with my clients as well. I was told by many that it is a great company to work for, that the management is kind and understanding. It was mostly great, with the occasional pressure times, but somehow, I was looking for something more,” she confides.

Ria, Anukriti and Priyasha

“Dreams are wishes that come true if you really want them.”

On their passion for dancing:

As a passionate event manager, Anukriti learnt to combine her love for dance with different ways in which their team could progress. Creating avenues for artists is what gives her maximum joy. Ria, on the other hand, believes that now she has been blessed with the opportunity to completely be herself and pursue both her passions—dancing and designing. And Priyasha who has grown up with a deep love for the art of dance, compounded with her need to share the joy that is dance, was what inspired her to go down this road.

With a common passion for dancing, over time each of them has understood their work as Beyond Routine through different filters and perspectives.

The Biggest Challenge:

“A person is not one thing, has never been, can never be. We do tons of different things, and constantly think about broadening our horizon, keeping dance at the centre of our universe. Society doesn’t always adhere to our belief system and forces us to think logically, and how focus only means doing one thing at a time. We believe in accepting a multi-talented personality. One should tap on every kind of talent he or she is born with. Sometimes making people understand that becomes a big challenge.”

One line that motivates them:

Anukriti: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” -Roald Dahl

Ria: “Everything you can Imagine is real” - Pablo Picasso

Priyasha: “The only way to do great work is to love what you to” – Steve Jobs

IX. Tejas Jain | Curious. Energetic. Compassionate.

Who: 26-year-old Tejas Jain is the founder of The Glu Affair (TGA), which is now a one-year-old fashion and lifestyle brand. The brand kick-started last year at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in December. “My manufacturing unit is in Bangalore and my warehouse is in Indore. So I literally live in both the cities at the same time,” he shares.

Through TGA he hopes  to un-pop the trend-led couture and propel self-expression to the fore of contemporary fashion. They design theme-based collections and curate established and emerging contemporary illustrators and designers from across the globe, designing each line in collaboration with them.

However, before entering the world of design and clothing, he worked as an insurance advisor with Bajaj Allianz General insurance, a credit analyst in the investment division with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, and a project coordinator with the UN Women’s Empower Women program. “I spent almost one year in each job. Each was completely different from each other and I learnt a lot. In 2014, I was supposed to go to the US to pursue an MS in Financial Risk Management. But I decided against it and started my own thing. Though I am still pursuing a CFA,” he says.

Having always loved playing with numbers, building projects from scratch and applying analytical skills to fulfil tasks, he felt that these jobs gave him the opportunities to test himself. “But in the end, like any other job, I was bound by the limits a job comes with, which I never liked. I had this innate desire to test myself at the hands of challenges and to test myself at the hands of uncertainties. In all honesty, I have realised that I find a lot of thrill in taking on daunting tasks and risks, and I have been immensely enjoying the struggles of being a startup,” he confides.

“Dreams are a bit of everything and anything we might experience, and I have always believed that the core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.”

On his passion for design and clothing:

“When I was in college, I used to play bass with an alternative/progressive rock band. After college, music took a back seat. I always wanted to go back to music and one day the idea of making a clothing line inspired by the same struck me. Though, I was not making music, it gave me creative liberty to explore art and art movements along with music. Things started shaping up. I cancelled my admissions to all the universities, “ he shares. “Year one has been a great run. People really appreciate what the brand has been up to. They come back looking to buy more stuff. And that I think that is the biggest achievement for me, personally. The joy of someone telling you that they like something you made with your own hands is no match to a big fat salary. Money, obviously, is flowing in as we grow by the day. I am glad I had the courage to quit everything and start my own thing.”

The Biggest Challenge:

“Instability in both, personal life and career. Your constant stream of cash flow dries up, your personal life goes for a toss because you literally live, sleep and eat, work. You are plagued with the fear of not making it to the finish line. I think work challenges are easy to deal with on a daily basis.  It is the self that you have to keep a check on, keep yourself motivated through the ups and downs, and train yourself to mitigate all the weaknesses and to feel strong.”

One line that inspires him:

“If you hear a voice within you saying ‘you are not a painter’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” - Vincent Van Gogh

X. Urvashi Kumar | Disciplined. Organised. Passionate.

Who: 26-year-old Urvashi is a fashion and beauty blogger. However, before she discovered her love for blogging, she spent several years working in finance. She pursued an MSc. in Finance from Cass Business School, following which she began working with PwC.

“Although I found my job interesting, it wasn’t creatively satisfying. When I finally came to the realisation that I needed something more, I quit my job and went in search of it. It wasn’t the easiest of journeys.” She began working for Beam & Words, a startup focused on public relations and social media. Here, she was introduced to the world of blogging. “I also found my love for writing about fashion and beauty. I decided to take this a step further by enrolling myself in NIFT, Delhi for a fashion programme. I started blogging around the same time. A year, a few months and a fashion degree later, I’m in a better place from where I began,” she shares. Now, she works as a full-time time fashion and beauty blogger.


“Dreams are not negotiable”

On her passion for blogging:

“When I started out, I was a little worried about whether people would actually respond to it. But thankfully, I had a lot of support from both friends and family. Blogging is a day and night job—especially when you’re working hard to grow your readership. You end up becoming a one-woman team, where not only do you have to work on the blogging bit, but you have to handle your own PR, your technical issues with the website, and so on. But I love every single minute of it.”

The Biggest Challenge:

“The career that I’ve chosen for myself comes with some challenges. There are no defined degrees or qualifications that make you a better blogger, except your own knowledge of the chosen subject. The problem with blogging these days is how brands perceive bloggers and how easy it becomes to influence that perception.

Recently, blogging, for brands has become more about numbers and by that I mean the number of followers one has on certain social media pages. No one cares about your quality of work or the number of hours you spend researching your subject and how much effort you’ve put into your work. It has become so easy for people to buy followers on their social media pages that your honesty and hard work take a backseat when it comes to brands picking bloggers to represent them. This is where the sanctity and the purpose of our work gets defeated and all those hours of passionate work on building one’s brand with honesty comes down to literally nothing. It’s as if there is no respect left for hard work and creativity.”

One line that motivates her:

“At any given moment, you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end.” - Christine Mason Miller

XI. Vyshnavi N Doss | Instinctive. Controlling. Original.

Who: 32-year-old Vyshnavi is the founder and designer of Dvibhumi, a Singapore/India-based independent jewellery label. Within a year of starting, and with no background in design or fashion, her work was chosen for Elle Magazine X FDCI’s ‘First Cut’.  She collaborates with artisans in India and South-East Asia to create wearable stories that explore contemporary design rooted in Asian heritage. Her current influences are the architecture and performing art traditions of Asia.

“I spent a decade in advertising, a large part of which was spent as a strategic planner. This was nice, because in an ideal world strategic planners are the sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and behaviourists of the advertising world. I got to work on brands across fmcg, fashion, lifestyle and beauty segments, helping develop creative concepts and ways to reach out to the consumer with them. Everything I know about building a brand and appreciating cultures is from my years in advertising. But a lot has changed recently. There’s too much structure, too many competing fragments—and long term client-agency relationships are hard to come by. You’re always guarded, nervously pitching, and there’s very little output that gives you a sense of pride. Starting my own label was just evolutionary,” she shares.

 “Dreams are like cats. They choose you, and you’re never bored again.”

On her passion for jewellery designing:

“The name Dvibhumi is adapted from the Sanskrit words dve (meaning ‘two’) and bhumi (meaning ‘earth’). It represents a stream of ideas flowing from my two worlds: India, where I grew up, and South-East Asia, where I currently live and work. I launched the brand in 2014, although it was a year in the making. I travelled in Southeast Asia and became increasingly aware that in its art, architecture, textile tradition, theatre and worship, Asia has compelling design stories waiting to be told to the world.

That was when Dvibhumi was born. With no formal training in jewellery, design development was initially very slow. And after several rounds of rejecting my own work, I painstakingly put together three capsule stories born out of the most enduring memories from my childhood and travels. I like contemporary themes, but I also like to create things that are off-trend and intensely personal. In a world where fast fashion is quick to dismiss curiosity, specificity and detail, I’d like Dvibhumi’s aesthetic to embrace both modern and timeless stories unique to life in Asia. With Dvibhumi, there’s control, soul, feedback, new learning, results, and the proverbial blood, sweat and tears. I feel alive, and everyday is filled with possibility.”

The Biggest Challenge:

“Making stuff is very easy. Like most people, I have no dearth of ideas. Selling finished products, however, has been my toughest challenge so far. I am still trying to balance between my artistic expression and my commercial interests.”

One line that motivates her:

“I’d rather fail in originality than succeed at imitation.”- Herman Melville