The Lady Who Creates Objets d’art

A sense of perturbance exists in those few gifted individuals, who, if abort pouring it on a canvas, discover a sort of unrest within their souls. How does their desire to express find a medium so strong that it beholds the world in fascination? As the prominent painter, Orhan Pamuk, once quoted, “Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight”.

Art flutters within a soul, making known its desire to be cast forth, to be exhibited. That is when the artist plucks her canvas and unfurls the avenue to compose her pièce de rèsistance.

Meet 28-year-old Rajivi Rao, a story-telling artist, brimming with mirth and verve! She gives us an account of her relationship with the aesthetic world of art.

Q: Who is Rajivi Rao and what does she do?

Rajivi: Hi! I am the creator of The Story Starters. I’ve worked in Germany as a copywriter before returning to Mumbai in 2016. I took up a job in an advertising firm here but quit in June this year. It was only after I resigned that the real idea for The Story Starters struck me as I gradually moved forth with pursuing my art. While I will always love advertising, The Story Starters is what feels good for my soul now.

It allows me to merge my three passions:

* Real life stories of people.

* The defining characters in their stories.

* And art.

Q: What art themes do you pursue?

Rajivi: It all depends on what I’m creating and for whom. And whether it’s about putting together a story about two individuals and their memories or a momento that somebody wishes to gift their loved ones. Basically, I make use of my trademark look of lined lettering, within lined bubbles and a lot of lining work outside them. It’s highly time consuming, but lends a fantastic overall effect. Adding personalized caricatures to the theme gives my art another level of dimension. One of the things that I love working on is getting acquainted to the person I’m sketching for. Even if that requires an hour of phone conversation. I feel that if I connect with them, I’ll be able to pour out their version of expected art or designs that are true to their personalities.

Like when I sketched for you, after comprehending the unique personalities of your three sons, I resolved to sketch their caricatures, depicting each child’s personality and trait.

Q. Yes, and you did a wonderful job! My kids couldnt have been more happy.

How do you see yourself as an artist in the society?

Rajivi: I relate to the term ‘Creative’ or even ‘Storyteller’ more. For me, art comes second. It is the stories that I’m interested in listening and adapting to. I design my art on themes like special memories that people wish to celebrate, certain funny moments that they want captured, or the sort of personalities that they possess. It’s these stories that I work towards bringing on paper.

Q. How do you spend your time of leisure?

Rajivi: By learning new skills. It disturbs me when there are times I goof up or don’t get my sketches right. (Ask my mom and she’ll emphatically describe the lenghty monologues I delve into about how unfair the world is. All because one line/letter did not come out the way it was supposed to!)

I’m a self-taught calligraphist. I practiced learning different caricature styles, different watercolor techniques, about different pens and how to use them, etc. I’m still learning and improving because there is always something to perfect. At the moment, I’m working on teaching myself brush-lettering and detailed doodling. And I’m having a blast doing it 🙂

5. What’s your favourite art work?

Rajivi: Honestly, I don’t have a favourite famous artist whose work I worship. I like browsing the Internet, going through as much art stuff as I can to build my art vocabulary. In my own assembly of work, though, I’d done a sketch for a friend’s fifth marriage anniversary that I love. Also, the cartoon caricatures with wordages I did for your kids (it’s been my first order for children), a big sketch I did in monochromes for a friend and recently, a cute doodle piece I did for my elder cousin. All my works take 7 to 8 hours of diligent detailing which makes them special for me.

Q. Your most embarrassing/scariest memory?

Rajivi: Scariest- Nights when I wake up to use the loo and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror with my hair sticking up. I swear to God, it scares the daylights out of me! Beside that, moving to Germany, unknown to the German language or anybody there, was unnerving. Launching The Story Starters was formidable too. I had no idea how would such an unusual concept be received.

Embarrassing- Now that’s gonna take several pages to answer!

Q. Why art? Do you have other interests besides art?

Rajivi: Art is what I earnestly turned to after I formed a clientele. Also, because art is so therapeutic and vast that anyone can dabble in it. Every person loves it in some form or the other since it is always open to interpretation. Having said that, I can’t skip mentioning that poetry is my first love. I’ve been writing poems since I was in school and feel that my style keeps evolving. I’m also a bookworm. I love reading.

Q. If you were granted a super power, what would you choose and why?

Rajivi: The ability to recognise and accept exactly who I am and erase all self-doubts. I apologise if my reply sounds clichéd, but that’s what I’d wish for. We are so conditioned to focus on other’s achievements. I learnt from my elder brother to not forget that success is something we should define for ourselves and must never doubt our own caliber. I’m still learning not to compare myself to anyone. It’s hard, but I try working on it.

Q. What is your dream project?

Rajivi: When I was six, my dream project was to commence a chain of restaurants that sold 2467 flavours of ice-cream (a bit of Nutella in each of them!) and 400 types of chicken nuggets which I would share for free. Seriously, though, The Story Starters IS my dream project. Through TSS I now see how much compassion exists in the world. When people call me to create gifts for the ones they love, be it a parent, boyfriend, wife, best friend, they narrate awesome stories and unique memories that they share with them. I adore witnessing the love people have for each other. It is my favorite part of what I do.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Rajivi: There are three great ones that I’ve received so far:

1. “Don’t eat what you can’t pronounce.”

2. “No Rajivi, Pizza doesn’t count as a friend, so please, let it go, move on.”

3. “Just because you’re struggling, doesn’t mean you’re failing. Struggling means you’re trying. And things change when you try.”

Rajivi Rao may be a beginner in the field of commercial artistry, but her hardwork and quality style of craft promises to gain her a fair share of recognition and success. I wish her the best in all her endeavours and soon hope to see a well-established artist. Here’s to knowing a good-hearted soul and a beginning of a heartfelt friendship.

Thank you, Rajivi ❤


Book Review

Just a fortnight ago, I had placed an order for the book called ‘Tales from the Treasure Chest’ authored by Ayesha Marfani. I had promised her this review and so here it is 🙂
The book contains three stories that are remarkable in the lessons that they convey. I found the language to be slightly advanced for Lil Man (7 years) and Wise Man (6 years). So, I am hoping they will find the book lucid enough to read once they turn around 11 or 12 years old, in sha Allah. Meanwhile, I will preserve this treasure for them (pun intended ☺)

Having read the stories myself, it dawned on me that we could easily impart valuable lessons to kids by equipping them with these kind of stories. The first story is about two sisters who are unhappy with their blessings. One wants to be cleverer and the other desires to look more beautiful because her sister is. The tale continues to relate how both of them realise that it is only through contentment that they can achieve what they wish to and how being ungrateful can make them miserable.

The second tale is of an amusing story-telling session between some elders and kids where the children realise how tough it is to be a parent and why they do what they do. Vice-versa the parents also understand the minds of kids and how it is not easy to be small. I liked the concept and think it is a good way to empathise with the roles of both parents and children.

The third narrative talks about a boy who is adventurous and is thought to be a good-for-nothing fellow. But he moves on to become a successful businessman. Only to realise that money cannot buy us everything and the most important of all things is to first become a good human being.

The book is all of 48 pages and cost me ₹765 /- since it was imported from UK, I’m guessing. My favourite among the three fables is the first one about the twin sisters. I have yet to find out which ones my boys will grow fond of in sha Allah.

I like that Ayesha Marfani stresses upon God-consciousness in her stories. The morals are deeply meaningful and relevant to the problems that kids face in this consumerist age. The examples make you sit back and evaluate life goals and what kind of humans are we striving to become.

The illustrations are sort of hazy. It’s good that they kept away from exhibiting mouth and eyes, following the Islamic rulings. Albeit, the images could have been made a bit more discernible.

I wish good luck and success to Ayesha Marfani. It’s always a pleasure to see women following their passion and doing great at it 😊

(The stories are dotted with verses like these)

Do let me know when anyone of you purchases this book. I am also planning to leave a comment on Amazon as a brief review, in sha Allah.

Au revoir ⚘

Hijab by Tuba Naaz

Before I delay writing this review even further, I have decided to get this done today. There’s an avalanche of mail awaiting to unwrap and review and I’d start thinking less of myself if I postpone any further now 🙈

It is often a pleasure to review abayas, scarves and hijabs now that I have grown highly fond of them over the years. It was generous of Hijab by Tuba Naaz to send me a stunning abaya from their exquisite collection.

Their mail arrived quite swiftly and the packaging was impressive. The luxurious lace-work, the sheer softness of the material and the basic color tones of the maroon and black abaya had me besotted.

The abaya opens in the front with a long row of tic buttons under a thick border of maroon that laces the anterior of the cover-up.

The chunky borders of intricate maroon crochet on both the sleeves gives the abaya a ritzy look. The sleeves are large and bell-styled.

The fabrics used for the abaya and hijab are a combination of polyster and soft georgette.

What I found striking was that this abaya makes for both a party-wear and for casual outings.

If I was asked to change anything about the beautiful abaya, I’d mention the black scarf for hijab. I wish it was done in a shaded maroon-black hue or bordered with a simple piping or a patch-work at just one end of the scarf.

Hijab by Tuba Naaz also provides customization of hijabs and abayas to suit your requirements in terms of sizes and designs. They have recently launched a splendid new line of modest-wear collection, so do take a peek into their instagram page.

Signing off on a note of wisdom: Always hand-wash your scarves and abayas using a mild shampoo. That way your hijabs and jilbabs will never lose their sheen and will stand to be more durable ☺

Au revoir ⚘

Redeeming My Pizzazz

I have been on a blogging hiatus after Ramadan concluded. To be honest, I’ve been craving to write but my listlessness has gotten better of me. I was going through my earlier write-ups and it struck me how much I enjoyed blogging, writing content and articles for the e-mag. The lazy stupor seemed to have hit me hard. For reasons I can’t fathom, I have been feeling unproductive. Which has led me to shun eating healthy, write less and be tardy overall, even though I have tried so much to wave it off. I guess you just have to let phases like these pass and get over the cloudiness that mars your good thoughts and efficiency.

My sister is on a visit to India. It’s pathetic how less we get to see each other since she has gone to U.A.E. I plan to ask her to co-ordinate her office leaves around my visits to Mumbai to our parents. At least this way we can be with each other for longer times during her stays to India. 

This time she came for just a few hours to my place for lunch yesterday and rushed back to Mumbai to spend time with mum. She and bro-in-law have come to India to attend a wedding in their family. It was so thoughtful of them to bring goodies for kids, hubster and me.

Some luxury shower gel, warm oil, body mist, those adorable mugs, a small diary with pen, some innerwear (not in the pic) and colorful measurement cups for baking.

Chocolate-covered dates with almonds for hubster.

 A haul of chocolate for kids (half of this has been gobbled up already😒)

Along with some stationary to keep them busy for a few days.

I have been hunting for my mojo back and though I still feel befuddled, I am going to let the pending works, product reviews and article writing jolt me back into doing my best, in sha Allah.

Do you have days such as these that make you want to give up doing stuff that you love? How do you cope with them?

I’m excited about a guest post that I’ve been offered to write. It’s for one of my favourite bloggers. Alhamdulilah for opportunities like these ☺

Leaving now just to see you very soon, in sha Allah.

Au revoir 💟

Blogger turned E-author 

Pure serendipity led me towards affiliating with Allarsh, a women’s e-mag. I couldn’t share a better rapport with it’s founder. A sweet and brilliant mum of a baby daughter, we clicked instantly and she graciously welcomed me into the fraternity of her e-mag authors.

For the write-up, I have brainstormed to find ideas that would benefit mums to keep their kids entertained indoors since the weather is drenching outside now. It led me to write on a gleeful game – Treasure Hunting. Hoping that it helps the readers enjoy the present weather with their kids even staying indoors ☺

Tap here to float towards my write-up. Remember, your feedback is precious to me 💖