Category Archives: Event

My friend – Tanya Gupta

Tanya Gupta. Young. Carefree and very opinionated. In a good way. Knows her mind and is not afraid to speak it.
I met Tanya at the Beach House Project in march this year at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. Late nights over good music and even better conversation can get people to bond pretty fast. And that is exactly what happened. Tanya is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. She decided to follow her dream and make a change with young minds. Why young minds? Read on…

What did you study in college?

I pursued B.S. in Computer Science (AI) and B.A. In Economics from University of Massachusetts Amherst. I graduated in May 2015

How did the jump to designing travel/experiences happen?

After finishing my degree I was certain that sitting behind a computer wasn’t my calling. I wanted to go out and make stories. I took a year long ‘time out’ after college to travel and came back home to try my hands at different businesses. During this time I met a lot of people, attended a lot of events and took a lot of interviews. Slowly I realised that something was missing, there was a gap between what was being taught and what was needed in life. Degrees were not enough and a lot of people (youth) were directionless. Around the same time I met Jay who was working towards creating inspiring journeys for amazing people and I thought this is it. Journeys should be done in schools. Having traveled extensively, I knew how much they can teach you. Young people need to move out of there 4 walls and see and learn from the world. So Jay and I started designing travel experiences for under 23.

What are some of the challenges you face?

When you are walking your own path, challenges are inevitable. They break the monotony. I received a lot of rejection / skepticism from schools and people about the idea, but my family always supported me.
Throughout the 8 months or rather since the time I graduated my biggest challenge was finding out what I wanted to do. That period of being lost was very very challenging. I was  deconstructing myself and it was unsettling but that ended as journeys began. Self Discovery is perplexing and I don’t think it’s ever going to end.
A challenge for life, if you may!

What is your company called and why?

My company is called Loud Minds.
Why? – Because the young minds are beautiful and lively, they should be loud.

Could you share a typical work day with us?

There is nothing routine about my work right now. I wake up to new ideas and continue working on old ideas. Some days are super awesome and others super low. Mostly I am in the house if I am not traveling. But I am trying to become a morning person and trying to find ways to learn new skills like water colour painting, playing the flute etc.

What is your process/thinking/philosophy?

I am not sure if I have a process in place but I do have a philosophy in life which is to be happy! My father taught us at an early age that there is only so much in your control outside, if you want to be truly happy learn to be happy within, grow on the inside, be true and find a purpose bigger than you. When you work towards something bigger than you, it’ll inspire you each day.

What is the next step you see for your business?

I want to reinvent education. It has to move beyond classes, report cards and certificates. It has to be about learning and inspiring. I wish to make travel a part of curriculum for the youth.

Expansion plans?

More Journeys, everywhere.

Favourite drink/ movie/book/go to place?

Fav Drink: Coconut Water
Fav Movie: Inside out
Fav Book: Many but Calvin and Hobbes are my fav
Fav go to place: Inside, I hardly get time to sit still and just delve into myself, but otherwise every place I visit becomes my favorite place. Currently it’s Bhutan


Tanya Gupta

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My friend – Shreyans Jain

Shreyans Jain. Super achiever. Warm hearted. And really nice. I met Shreyans briefly in Kochi but that conversation over lunch at Pepper House was enough to show me insight into a young man who had a firm head on his shoulders and a very savy idea on how to make money and change some lives in the bargain. And I mean that in the nicest way.

I met Shreyans at the Beach House Project in march this year at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. Late nights over good music and even better conversation can get people to bond pretty fast. And that is exactly what happened. Shreyans is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. Read on to find out more about him.

What did you study in college?

I did my Bachelors in Business Management (BBM) from Christ University, Bangalore.

How did the jump to designing events/experiences happen?

When Anto (my partner) and I began talking about the problems that the youth of our country were facing, as college students we realized that there was no one that took the largest demographic of our country seriously. We wanted to create something for the youth. A platform, a community and a congregation of young creative folks who could speak, showcase and even network.

What is your company called and why? How do you manage a crowd of youngsters so effortlessly?

Our company is called Under 25 and we are media and entertainment company for the youth and the young. We are also popular for organizing India’s largest youth festival, The Under 25 Summit.
Nothing about this was effortless, to be honest with you. It was four years of endless effort from us and our team who worked tirelessly to build the company, the festival and the philosophy of feeling Under 25 🙂

What are some of the challenges you face?

Getting brands/organisations to buy into our philosophy and supporting our endeavours has been slightly difficult. But over a period of time, that has gotten better too. We are also a bootstrapped company, which has its own challenges, but we like the advantages of that, so it works out ☺

How do you stay relevant and young in this fast paced/ ever changing world?

Firstly, since we are young, it works out in our favour. Also the average age of our company is 20. We want to continue maintaining that by consistently bringing young folks on board to run Under 25.

Could you share a typical work day with us? What is your process/thinking/philosophy?

No day is the same, which is the only way we’d have it. As a team we also spend a lot of time brainstorming about new ideas, new IPs and ways to increase efficiencies. Our philosophy is simple- run the business like a ‘dhandha’. A business that makes money in the present tense. All our creativity, our events and all efforts are still focused on running Under 25 like a ‘dhandha’.

What is the next step you see for your business? Expansion plans?

We want to become the go-to platform for all things youth around the country in the coming years. Everything from online content to offline experiences, we want to be the voice of everyone under the age of 25. More so, create all of this for this very demographic.

Favourite drink/ movie/book/go to place?

HUGE fan of organic teas. Love ‘Shantaram’. Social is my go-to place 🙂

Shreyans Jain

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The Beach House Project – March 2017

What do you get when you put 14 creative entrepreneurs under one roof for seven days, sharing space and doubling up in one bed room? –  As the next few posts roll out you are going to find out!

I don’t go out a lot. I am a home body by nature and it takes an effort for me to get out.  It was not always like that but it has become so. When my friend Vanshaj Kapur of The Bold Creative, shared the application form with me for this years week long residency for The Beach House, I was filled with trepidation and lacked inertia to really get into it. Besides my life is a carefully choreographed dance at best or utter chaos at worst with so many moving parts.

But somethings are meant to be. And so it was…

The idea was to get us all under one roof and get us to think and engage. Engage with each other and with ourselves. Honestly and openly. We all introduced ourselves and shared our challenges. We shared our perspectives and the hacks that have allowed us to get to the level we are in our individual lives. We received unbiased opinions and helpful tips to circumvent the road blocks that we face in extending our businesses to the next logical step.

The pièce de résistance of the entire experience was the opportunity to meet and interactive with Sudarshan Shetty (the curator for 2016) and the team at the Kochi Muziris Biennale. The idea was to put our heads together and come up with options and solutions to the myriad challenges that the Biennale faces. To brain storm on matters of engagement, interaction, extension of audience, possible funding avenues.

I arrived in Kochi at about 10 am to sweltering heat and a strange calm. I left Bangalore with zero expectations for the week to come. At the very least I thought it would be a good holiday. Was I wrong! As the week unfolded I made a set of friends for life, learnt hacks to better navigate life and business and took home new approaches to face my challenges. Seems to good to be true, na? But it is true. True to the last bowl of creme I polished off! I met a fellow follower- Chellu Chandran, of the Ketogenic diet and re-learnt a few principals of how to treat my body. That is where the bowl full of creme comes in! But that story is for another time.

Let me introduce you to my fellow inmates in an ‘insane asylum’ of the very best kind. Besides with the amount of cream I was eating the guys at the hotel definitely thoughts I was nuts 🙂 The asylum in question was the Neemrana hotels property  – a 17th century light house in Fort Kochi facing the Chinese fishing nets now converted into a beach front villa hotel. They had a few other guests but those guests knew to stay out of our way and the hotel staff was un-believeablely co-operative and over extended themselves where ever they could.

The entire experience was crafted by Jay Ahya and his team at the Beach House Project. The residents included – Jay’s team of helpers –  Kritika, Tanya and Charan. And our team of participants included Vrinda, Nitisha, Savera, Cheelu, Vallery, Vanshaj, Rishi, Manas, Ashish, Amit, Ishaan and Rohan. Subba and Shreyans joined us for a day each. 

The connection with everyone was so strong that I can quite truthfully say that these were all effortless friendships. I have always said that I am the sum of all the people who come into my life. It really is about connections and communication. I had both by the bucket load. And I hope to have collaborative experiences with at least some of my fellow inmates. I want to take the time to introduce each of my new friends to you all one by one in a series of posts to follow. For one paragraph alone would not do them justice.

Please take the time to follow the links in this post and learn about The Beach House Project and it’s sister concern The Road Trip Experience. Should you get a chance to go for either, just GO! They will enrich your life.

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Give Away Alert! – With ‘Barley and Grapes’ and Chateau Auzias

I am thrilled to start this new year with a give away.  And it’s not just one but SIX !! Yes, there are six slings to be won from the signature ArtByAarohi Collection.

The rules are very simple. If you are in Phoenix Market City in namma bengaluru (Bangalore), head on over to ‘Barley and Grapes Cafe’ and order a bottle of Chateau Auzias wine. That purchase gives you the chance to fill in a lucky draw coupon and at the end of every week – there is one sling to be won. That is it. You get to have your wine and keep it too!

And the give away happens in my favourite watering hole – “Barley and Grapes Cafe” which just turned three with my best friend Meghana Vakada.  My voice of reason in all things that require err.. reason!



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Polka Cafe – Jan 2017

The Fusion Projects was launched last year and the very first one was with Glasshopper. At the exhibition for the launch of the new jewellery line, I had the pleasure of meeting Meghna who unbeknown to me is a writer for Polka Cafe. She came and bought some pieces and then a few weeks later I get a mail for a short interview. The rest is in the article 🙂

Thank you Meghna Kohli Vachher.
Please click the image to read. You can read the entire article here.


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Indian Express Indulge – Dec 2016

Learning new things. Pushing the envelope as it were is something I want to do a lot more of this new year. Without conscious thought last year got all muddled up in production and the ArtByAarohi label line. It took more out of me than I quite realized. So this new year I hope to paint a lot more and do a few more of The Fusion Projects.

Happy New Year people – Wishing you an abundance of everything your heart desires.

Last November I got to go to Goa for the The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016  and while displaying the tank I painted for Royal Enfield as part of a collaborative Fusion Project I found myself chatting with Jaideep Sen.
Thank you Jaideep Sen for the lovely write up in the 30 December 2016 issue of the Indulge magazine – Indian express.

Note- Please click on the images to read text.

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The Fusion Projects – With Royal Enfield

The next in the series of The Fusion Projects is with motorcycle company – Royal Enfield. Although the project came to me many months ago I started work on it only in August end. But as they say everything happens for a reason. By the time the tank was finished it was time for The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016 – an annual community driven event in Goa each November. And I had the joy of taking the tank to Goa. To see first hand reactions of bikers across India to my vision of a hand painted tank has been gratifying to say the least. I got to be a fly on the wall and just watch people react to the tank artwork.

The endeavour has been not just to paint a motorcycle tank but to view the entire exercise in a new way. The tank needed to look different from anything out there and still have my stamp on it. I was not looking to make just  decorative artwork that would sit in someone’s office or a showroom. I want to see how this painted tank fares on an actual motorcycle. How the paint will react to sun, moisture, dew. Will the paintwork stand up to general wear and tear and fuel spills.

Therein lies the purpose of this joint exercise. I learn. Learn about material and it’s usage. I get to try and think out of the box from established norms of what constitutes successful artwork for bikes. The next step is to go to the Enfield factory and see how the paint is applied. To try an incorporate my artistic style while using industry standards. As a start I decided to paint with a brush and not an airbrush. Used Acrylics. And used a theme- Theyyam – which is not seen on bikes but has been central to my work for a few years now.

As a theme, Theyyam lends itself well to artistic interpretations. By it’s very nature, it brings forth goodwill to those in its presence and promises to ward off evil. What better way to kick start a new series. My friend Sachin Chavan – the Head, Rides and Communities, Royal Enfield – who was instrumental in getting me on board for this project has been a friend for almost 20 years. He rides (obviously!!) and my parting shot to him has always been to ‘Ride Safe‘. It has been similar to my father and brother who are both retired fighter pilots from the Indian Air Force. For them it was and is – ‘Fly safe, Blue skies and Happy Landings‘!

I hope the good will always carries through…

Theyyam is an artistic dance form where metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls are impersonated by a believer through a mortal body. Theyyam originated from “Kaliyattam” once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. Theyyam has grown to the present form through many transformations since it’s origin. Landlords and chieftains of those days are the main forces behind many of such transformations. The community and its body began to use this art to propagate the major theme of social enforcement. The artists are also encouraged by the authorities to introduce new themes into its traditional layers and classified different acts and expressions to match specific needs for their desire. The character representations were very broad. They range from mild to wild in representations.
Theyyam is a sect in which old heroes are sanctified and worshiped as the guardians of villages and homes. Yet, it includes a complex universe centered on the belief that a man can—after suitable mental, physical and spiritual preliminaries—don the costume of a particular deity and then become that deity. In this elevated state he assumes superhuman and divine powers—speaking, moving, blessing and even healing as a god or goddess. What is crucial is that the person is not possessed by the spirit of the deity. It’s important to understand that Theyyam has a larger purpose that goes beyond the territories of performance – to all those in attendance, it assures assistance and security during times of crisis, promising to resolve all their conflicts.

You can read about Theyyam here-

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More Jhola Bags – Dec 2016

Your response to the Jhola bags has been so heart warming. To have every piece sold out in a matter of hours or at best a couple of days makes all the hard work I put in so worth while! You can see the styled images for the last two collections here and here.

A few of you requested that I make some for Diwali.  Diwali deadline was a little tough to catch but I have been working away at my sewing machine, burning the midnight oil as it were. I shifted the goalpost and we are ready in time for Christmas 🙂

Please note – There are 18 new Jhola bags up for grabs on the shop. And as always each is one-of-a-kind! There are no two alike.
After this lot I really do need a break from sewing so I can get back to painting full time for a bit. The next lot of jhola bags after this will only be out next year – in 2017.

Happy shopping!

Happy shopping!

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Fempowerment Women Achievers Award 2016

I won! And the best part – I had no clue that I was even in the running!

Some one from YourStory wrote to tell me that they had nominated my name for an award and that someone from the awards organization would get in touch with me. I thanked the said person and promptly forgot all about it.  Imagine my surprise – I learned that I had won the award in the category of Fine Arts – Painting and sculpture 🙂
Thank you YourStory!!

Sadly due to unforeseen scheduling problems and prior commitments I was unable to make it to Mumbai for the Award show on the 17th of July 2016. Swanky affair it was from what I understand. I looked up the past recipients for 2014-15 and 2013-14 of the awards and this year’s winners in the 16 categories – I am in exalted company and I love it.

It would not have been right to post about it without actually having the physical award in my hands. I just got my hands on the trophy a few days ago. So now I am sharing it with all of you.


It’s been a joy to receive the Fempowerment Women Achievers award 2016 for Fine Arts. Recognition of any kind for work one loves is always wonderful. The jury was daunting to say the least and the illustrious lot of achievers before me is both empowering and humbling. Thank you so much for giving me yet another push in following my dreams.

You can read about the award here

And this is an excerpt from their letter to me –

“…proud to inform you that you have been selected as the Fempowerment Winner in the category of Painting and Sculpting Artist, your selection has been done unanimously at our Jury Meet on 7th July’16 at St. Regis, MumbaiFempowerment Women Achievers Awards is an initiative of Molecule Communications where women achievers are honoured in their respective fields, the one and only Women Awards where the nomination process is open and anyone can nominate any woman along with one unique category.  Zee TV has associated with the awards for the cause of social betterment and soon the awards will be telecasted on Zee TV. The nominations have been received from the every corner of the country in all the 16 categories and a strict and unbiased on-site review has been done by the Screening & Main Jury. The event is happening on 17th of July, 2016 at Mumbai.

Mr. Subhash Ghai, noted Director, Mr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor in Chief – Business World, Mr. Adil Malia, Global Head For Leadership, Learning & People Management, Essar Group, Ms. Mrunalini Deshmukh, Senior Lawyer, Ms. Bhawana Somaaya, noted Journalist & Author & Mr. Ridham Desai, MD Morgan Stanley were the respectable Main Jury for the Fempowerment Women Achievers Awards 2016.”

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Diwali 2016 – Besan Laddoos!


The only time in a year that I make sweets for a festival is Diwali.

Don’t get me wrong, I always have sweets, cakes and other (healthy) sinful stuff that I make for my home- I do have two growing kids who are ever hungry!

It started 17 years ago when I got married. I am the product of a mixed marriage and as such there were never any rituals or puja’s in my house growing up. While I don’t miss that I do miss the culture and tradition associated with festivities. Though we celebrate everyone in our own way. So once a year I go on a laddoo making spree. It started with one odd kg. Last year I topped it at 19kg’s!! This year is a little scaled back at about 15kg’s 🙂

I thought I would share the recipe with you all. I make really good melt-in-the-mouth laddoos even if I say so myself 🙂

– 1 kg Besan or fine Chickpea flour

– 1 kg fine ground sugar

– 1 kg Ghee or clarified butter


The original recipe calls for roasting the besan and ghee together but I find it easier to dry roast the besan first. Remember to keep stirring till the besan gets a darker hue/tan and the kitchen is filled with a nutty fragrance. Stir and stir some more or bits of besan will burn. That much of tan you don’t need!

Next put it a large vessel to cool. At this stage it helps to sieve the besan so as to break any little lumps. They look unsightly later and these little pockets of besan that did not get to mix with any sugar or ghee… trust me not nice to taste when one gets these bits in a bite full of sumptuous sin.

Once cool then mix the ground sugar. Remember to wait till the besan is cool before adding the sugar as the sugar will leave water and that will be the end of your laddoo making experiment.

Then add warm/hot ghee and knead the mixture till smooth and evenly mixed. The temperature of the ghee will depend on how cool your mixture is at this point. That’s it. You are ready to start shaping the dough balls.

It also helps to roll the balls out 2-3 times as it’s easier to shape into balls as the dough cools. Else they will look like flat pedas.

In the traditional recipe you would have to wait till the ghee and besan mixture cools substantially before adding the sugar. Then knead away and shape into balls.

Oh! and the reason I am standing on a stool in the first picture is that after an hour and a half of constant stirring your arm will pain. The elevated height really helps.

It’s quite simple. And your family and friends will love you for it. My kids keep sneaking a few every time they pass the dining table 🙂

Happy Diwali!!

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