Growing up in India surrounded by a myriad of cultures, languages, and obstacles was an enhancing experience. Divergence and co-existence surfaced as concepts quite early on in my life, and they re-emerge every time I work with a design brief. Being classically trained in art of dance and music exposed me to the artistry and potential of spontaneous thought from at an early age. On excursions with my father- an archaeo-metallurgist, watching him decode clues and narratives imbued with artifacts caught my deepest fancy. This fascination with narratives led me to study design at the National Institute of Design, India. The NID curriculum advocated a hands-on, executory attitude to work, which led to strengthening both my skills and imagination. After joining the textile design department, I cultivated my passion for visual history and culture through an extensive field documentation of the ‘Newars’ of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. I attempted to trace the history of their traditional daily attire through field study, sculptures, manuscripts, paintings, legends and traveler’s stories. This documentation though challenging proved to be very insightful since it let me experience their way of life in its actual setting and learn from shared experiences. During my third year, I took up an internship at Abraham and Thakore – highly renowned Indian designers. It served as an excellent opportunity to brush up my tangible skills, work on real-time briefs and become more aware of my expression as a designer.
After I finished university, I was hired by Trident Group, one of the world’s largest home textile manufacturers as a business development leader. My responsibilities included maintaining key relationships with clients, visits with the R&D experts, helping with product innovation, market research, providing accurate feedback on our competitors. Working in unfamiliar areas provided hardships that ended in professional epiphanies, and at Trident, with the looming responsibilities handed to me, I became a more confident, well versed and multifaceted professional.
After my stint at Trident, wanting to experience design in a new context, I attended a summer program at RISD, Providence. I undertook a course on color, material, and dimension arising from my fascination with color’s behavior and perception in space. Experiencing the creative process in an unchartered territory was disorienting and liberating at the same time. Critiques I received led me to look at my work from a drastically different perspective. This experience was a pivotal moment in deciding to expand my point of view in design. So far, my design sensibilities have been defined within the reference frame of “India.” However, from experience, such reference frames become inhibiting over time. These experiences and epiphanies became a point of departure from where the MDes program exploring design and its impact in a broader context seemed to be the logical next step. Today, at 24, I have been lucky to encounter the best of the academic world of design in India and the tenacity of the one driven by a market. I want to be able to ask the more pertinent questions that will enable my future and help be part of a more significant impact. I want to experience the abundant opportunities the program provides. I aspire to add a layer of technique and exposure to my previous experience in design, enabling me to contribute towards productive futures better armed and informed.