Saturday 31 August 2013

Stringing a beady tale with love

Personal stories of success always are a wonder to narrate and here I am with one such tale which I admire and choose to share with you.

When Sridevi in the film, English Vinglish informs the class that she makes laddus and sells them, by way of introducing herself, she is lauded as an Entrepreneur. That scene was an AHA moment in the film. I'm sure that scene touched many a chord and left one teary-eyed. 

This is a tale of one such entrepreneur, who left her job with a leading Luxury group when she had a soul call. Most often a soul call doesn't happen twice and Archana Avinash of Strings & Beads was wise enough to heed that call and follow its direction. Thus began the soulful and beautiful journey of Strings and Beads - Handmade precious and semi-precious jewellery using gemstones, Tibetan silver and silver. This was in Qatar, Middle-east in circa 2011!

Archana's love and attraction to jewellery especially heavy, chunky statement pieces naturally enabled her to begin Strings & Beads. Hailing from a family where all the women did some kind of hand work, Archana says that she genetically and naturally had to use her hands to create something that she enjoyed doing and also that fetched her money. Archana says, "My Grand-mom used to sketch, stitch and do lovely embroidery. My Mom went on her mom and till date stitches some of the most gorgeous clothes and bags. So Jewelry happened very naturally to me. I loved stones and started putting things together. I started with stretch bracelets, then I worked around simple necklaces and finally came earrings."

Like most personal ventures, Archana also faced disappointment and financial constraints in the initial days after starting S & B as she quit a job that paid handsomely. But she had her heart and soul into Strings & Beads. There were exhibitions she did in the Middle East (Qatar) where she didn't sell a piece. But thanks to her friends-- her only clients then who picked all that they liked and encouraged her. Having a supportive and wonderful husband also was her great pillar of strength. In Archana's own words, "A shoulder to cry and a crazy pal when we celebrated successes."

 Archana's medium of work in the beginning was limited to glass beads and metal. Eventually, her liking for Silver increased and also did her love for Gemstones. She came across tarot and Crystals about a year after she began S & B. She saw some amazing results for S & B with the crystals and that's when she went on to learn Tarot card reading and Crystal Healing. Now a practitioner and a designer, she is able to bring about an amazing balance with Aesthetics and Metaphysics.

She procures her beads from around the world from suppliers approved by GIA (Gemological institute of America) and her Silver are all handmade in India and Nepal.

The greatest challenge she faces are the copiers in the market. People come to her to learn the art and begin something by themselves and have even tried stealing her clients. But Archana is quite happy that she has many clients who have also become her friends and family standing by her.
 Archana has come a long way since she began her journey before 2.5 years and the sailing hasn't been quite smooth. But what she has understood is that inspite of many copiers out there, they really don't live long. And as Archana rightly mentions, "True creativity cannot be contained. It is something each one is born with and that which you end up nurturing."

And thus Archana nurtured her soul call and here we are with beautiful strings and beads! In early 2013 Archana shifted to Chennai and since then her journey has been functioning from the South of India to many countries in the world. One visit to her Facebook page leaves you sighing and wishing that you owned atleast one S & B piece of jewellery.

Archana has been showcasing her work in different venues in Chennai and recently exhibited her work entitled, Madras Memoirs in the 11th edition of By Hand, From the Heart, the market place for hand made stuff from South India.


Postscript: Written for the Indiblogeshwaris Ladies Independence Special Contest in association with Women Entrepreneurs in India

All images are from Strings & Beads Facebook page.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Five seconds don't mean much

How long does it take to assess a person? I have read that in five seconds an impression is made. I cannot agree and neither do I agree with the cliched saying, 'First impression is the first impression.' Today I was introduced to someone while going for a walk. As soon as the first introductions were made, I could see the lady scrutinising me from top to bottom. I could sense that she was ass . . . essing me. I felt rather uncomfortable. Could she have gauged me just by looking at me. Did she sense that I was a corny blogger or for that matter that I didn't choose to bathe today?! Maybe not. What did she read of me when she looked at me from top to bottom. At that precise moment when she looked at me, I also judged her or rather ass . . . essed her. We were both doing the same things but I would like to be partial with my observation because it was the observation of an observation.

Often we are not open-minded enough to be compassionate and non-judgmental while meeting someone for the first time. Perhaps there is this notion that the other person might be judgmental of us and why not take the first step by judging them harshly and showing that through our facial expression. By experience and a bit of prudence, I have come to realise that first impressions don't mean much. A tough exterior can mask an insecure interior or a seemingly calm exterior might be vicious within. The phrase, 'Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle' runs and reruns in mind when I find myself trying to judge a person in the first five seconds of meeting someone. Something related to this is falling in love at first sight. While I can possibly extend my general speculation to love, I will not venture that side because I have strongly felt attractions in the first five seconds of meeting someone. Well, can attraction be equivalent to judging, I don't know. Some things are mysterious and cannot be ascertained but I guess scientists have tried cracking the mystery of love at first sight and maybe they are right.

I think first meetings pave way for opening one's world to someone who is different, unacquainted and new from our world. After subsequent meetings, we can decide whether we want to stay or leave but that first time should be an open-minded one, I reckon.

Just because I write this, it doesn't mean that I'm open-minded. I am learning to rein my force of habit and trying to be open to the possibilities of a first meeting which could probably lead to some strong bonds and conversations.

What do you think of this preoccupation with first impressions?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Thursday 1 August 2013

Won't you allow yourself to be seduced by local metaphors/similes

Some time ago in 2010, I invited my readers to exercise their grey cells and come up with metaphors and similes from their immediate environs - in short, local and regional similes/images and metaphors. Well, we did try to come up with something and in the process tried to invent our own images! Well, I'm tempted to do something like that again and so I invite you to come up with unique metaphors and similes of your own and from your own locale. Let's be done away with those cliched, "As blind as an owl" and "as sly as a fox!"

Leaving you with some examples from the comments of the post I did in 2010.

~ "As it shifts out of sight, the birch trees and farms in my view become dark silhouettes on a canvas of silver. Like a gentle painter, the sun leaves behind brush strokes of warm colours on the evening sky for a short instance, before submerging us in dense darkness yet again, without any promises to return..."

(Zuzana Hansen)

 ~ "There was so much humidity in the air that photosynthesis threatened to become audible"

(Yuvika Chaube)

Okay, shall we begin? Here are some of mine:-

1. Her voice was as shrill as the Lapwing during monsoon
2. He became predictive as the words in the word document ;)
3. Your face is beaming as the smiley that my G-chat provides!
4. You are slowly becoming tasteless like the leftover dal that is three days old!
5. Her imaginary ghosts within were numerous than those found on the Tamarind tree in our village square!

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet


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