[Intro Entrepreneurs] Bhupesh Kavadia – Bougain Villaea

“Shivling is the purest form of abstract symbolic sculpture where ling and yoni are both depicted in the most powerful way.”

“Words become lyrical when rhymed in the right way,

Stones become marvels when carved in the right shape,

Moulded by the imagination of mind,

And love of the heart,

Art will keep on,

Taking our breath away.”

 

We are rock people. We have lived in them, we have fought with them, hail we have made everything around them. From the wheel that made possible all the innovations to come alive to the spaceships which set our imagination ablaze by their possibilities. But the most interesting thing about all these innovations is that they were sparked by a single person’s imagination but are realized by the hard work of billions throughout the human evolution.

Before the beginning of any innovation there is a dream.

A dream that has the power to drive us years over years, miles over miles to schools, to work, to countries and beyond. No one could ever say what amount of hard work one needs to put in before realizing dreams but one thing is for sure if we are persistent than our dreams will definitely become a reality one day.

Such is the story of Mr. Bhupesh Kavadia.

Bhupesh Kavadia - Bougain Villaea

Born and raised in Udaipur, he sat out to make his career in a field which was once considered taboo.

Can you think what it could be?

Well while you’re thinking let me give a brief walk around the place we took our interview.

It was around 11:30 a.m. in January, Sun was shining brightly and sunlight was coming through window into what we think was study. A beautiful shelf filled with books and art pieces was in front of us. It was one of those settings which every person want to in his life. Open and spacious, the study also had an aquarium. A really big one and with the sound of water flowing, the ambience was just calming.

Have you guessed what he do?  Let’s find out if your guess correct or not. ☺

Bougain Villaea Udaipur

 

Sir, please tell us your story?

“My father was a teacher. I did my schooling from St. Pauls. During school days, I got involved with theatres. We had a small group called “Triveni Kala Sangam”. It comprised of many senior people and others having a passion for art like me. My attachment for art began with this group. Our seniors in the group were mostly doctors, engineers and they were able to give time to the theatres in the evening hours. So, from that point of time only, my grooming as an artist had nicely begun with an opportunity to work with such people in a creative environment.

Theatre was a team work. We had to clean the set, bring tea, design stage and of course act. There were so many things we had to do and this made the environment more creative and lively. Then, with the introduction of TV, the theatre audience started to reduce and gradually theatres became a thing of past. It was a huge setback for all of us.

During this period, fortuitously I met some senior sculptors who were working in Udaipur. When I saw their work, driven by the thought of doing something like it, I also tried my hands in sculpturing. In the beginning it was just a curiosity whether I can do it or not. All I had thought was to make a little sculpture of my own and put it in my mantelpiece.

But this curiosity of mine was unconsciously turning into a passion for the art. I started to visit the place on a daily basis. Initially, it was for few hours a day, then it turned into half days and finally a full time process. By then it had become a serious affair and with the support of the whole art community my confidence also began to develop.”

 

Bhupesh ji might be humble about his success and a down to earth person but we knew what this man was capable of as soon as we entered his gallery “Bougain Villaea”.

Here’s a fun fact: Most of us have already seen the front of his gallery.

A big white elephant sculpture standing in front of a square arched entrance way.

Bougain Villaea Gallery Udaipur

 

Can you remember the place? (Hint: It’s on Rani road’s beginning)

As we walked past that elephant on the cobbled path, we were impressed by the beautiful sculptures that watched us till we reached the end only to witness a surreal experience.

Big, small, shining, dull, captivating, pondering, the entire place was full of beautiful and vivid sculptures, paintings and other art works.

The experience we had there was unexplainable. It was like going back into the childhood where you were free to interpret things the way you wanted to, where you’d let your imagination go free. We started doing that only and every time we hit on the meaning of a sculpture, a painting and any other art displayed there we were fired by a new one.

That’s the beauty of art.

Art sets you free but to be an artist in our society comes at a price. Let us hear from Bhupesh ji about how his family reacted when they found out about his new passion!

 

Tell us what happened when your family found out that sculpturing has become a serious affair for you?

“They were okay with it till it was a hobby but as soon as it became a serious thing they began to worry. Therefore, I started to find jobs accordingly so that my family does not have to worry about my career. But for me, career orientation was completely lost at that time. Sculpting had become a passion for me.

During that time, while I was searching for a job, I got a chance to join a private businessman as a supervisor for his Traditional Sculpture Department. In this way I tried to stay as close to stones as possible. Before joining the job, I placed my terms in front of him that I would work with the stones after 5 in the evening. All my work would remain his property but the creative independence will be mine. He very generously agreed to it and he was very happy with his decision after seeing my work.

As time passed, my work started getting recognition. My hard work started paying off and finally I bagged a wonderful opportunity of receiving the highest state award for the same.

When I shared it with my parents, my father said, “Isse zindagi nahi chalegi tumhari”, because at that time it was an amount of just Rs. 5000 (which wasn’t enough for a livelihood) and a certificate. For some time, it was still a shock for him that his boy was going out for carving stones. Sculpting didn’t have a serious definition then.

Gradually, we started joining exhibitions in Delhi and Bombay. Luckily some renowned art collectors liked my work and the patronage they gave encouraged us a lot. Eventually, on an individual level, monetary gain also started which helped me become more confident.

Finally, I left job and replaced this hobby as full time work. As I received more and more recognition and awards for my work such as Indian National Award etc., my family also started supporting me. My biggest support all this way came from my wife.”

                                                  (With smiles beaming on our face)

Isn’t it glad to know that people who care about you sooner or later joins you on the way of your dreams. And when you are mature enough you began to understand that the only reason they stop you from doing something is because they are concerned for you which make you love them even more.

Bhupesh Kavadia

But why choose Udaipur for an art gallery and for work?

We all know how much negligent we are about art in Udaipur. Being locals we are the ones whose support is still the least for the art community. So we became more curious as to why he chose to stay in Udaipur even after getting so much recognition internationally. His answer also shed light on the beginning and purpose of starting the “Bougain Villaea Gallery”.

(In his words)

“Baroda University ke ek senior professor the. Hum ek symposium me sath me the. Unka yeh kehna tha ki ladke tu ye sheher chaudkar kahin bahar chala ja. Like Bombay or Delhi. Kyunki tera ye sheher sheher nahi gaav he and yahan par tujhe koi projection nahi rahega.”

(Translation: I had a chance to meet a senior professor of Baroda University at a symposium. He said to me that you should leave this city and go to big cities like Delhi or Bombay because your city is not a city but a village and here you won’t find any projection.)

“His answer made me to think that why can’t I do something here in Udaipur. I took this as a challenge and started a studio where few people including me worked together.”

“Then we started our first art gallery on a small place. We received commendable support from art community and other people. Udaipur being a tourist destination added as icing on the cake creating more exposure for our gallery. This lead to the beginning of the growth of our gallery, which slowly seeded from a small shop to a big showroom. People now knew that the levels of work that they see in New York, London is also available in Udaipur.”

“Then we had our own publication, a coffee table book just to authenticate ourselves.”

 

International footfall! Why is the local footfall is so less in these galleries?

Anyways moving forward, we went through some books. And seriously, we never could have imagined that art work of such a splendid level would ever have been possible in Udaipur. I know, our beloved city is already world famed for miniature arts but once you go through this stuff, this in house publication, you would realise that we have a much wider gamut of talent then we know.

Bougain Villaea Gallery proudly shows this gamut of talent under one roof. Spread over two floors is artwork from more than 30 different artists of varying age groups and styles. The amalgamation of art here was indistinguishable.

 

Bougain Villaea

Bougain Villaea

 

 

Bougain Villaea Udaipur

 

Bougain Villaea

 

We both agreed to this fact after we saw these pictures again. By the way you must have been thinking from long as to who are WE here!!

I am Nirbhay, currently narrating you the interview in my words and my friend Siddharth Nagar.

One of his questions took us back to the days when Bhupesh Ji was connected to the theatres.

 

Sir! You’re attached to theatre. Theatre people are generally seen to do their work more with feelings and seriousness. So are your theatre feelings and art feelings connected?

“Obviously! Not only mine (for the reason I was attached to theatre), but for all those who are artists (any field), if they are not doing it with their soul then they are not doing an artwork.

It may be that you are technically good but until and unless you put your soul in that work it will be considered dead only. It may become commercially successful but you will never be satisfied. It would never make you happy like ‘yaar maza aa gaya isko karne me’. “

Well said!

Bhupesh ji really puts up a complex thing in the simplest way possible and makes us want to explore even more of his perspectives and thoughts.

 

Sir, most of us have a passion for something but we do not have enough skills for it and under certain circumstances we literally give up on it. So do you think one should give up his passion if she/he does not possess good technical skills?

“If there is passion then you don’t need to have skills in advance. No matter how you’re doodling or sketching, it doesn’t matter. It is your passion and firstly it is for you. For example, suppose I am seeing a tree and I want to draw it but I don’t know sketching even then I can draw it in my way. I don’t have to follow a pattern as doing so would become a copy and there would not be any ideas of mine.

It’s like the children do. When you give them a piece of paper to draw, they draw according to their own will. And everything they draw is their own imagination. But the only point here is that their teacher does not teach them how a tree, a hill etc. should be drawn. A teacher should always want from his/her students to develop their own ideas and bring an essence of their imagination in anything they draw.

We should not bring too much academics in our passion because then we become more prejudiced. We will then start to follow the set of rules given in academics and then the art won’t be ours.

It is a very personal thing about how we perceive things and our expressions should be based on our perception unbiased.”

Perception. It’s a small word that can be seen causing chaos since our beginning. 

 

Sir, like you said that artists draw from their imagination. So, how often it happens that people perceives your work the way you did when you made it?

“Ummm! Many a times it does not happen because a viewer’s mind-set and a creator’s mind-set (at the time of creating) are usually different. It is merely a chance of probability that a viewer perceives this art as the creators’ when he created it.

But artwork gives you a freedom of perception. Suppose if what artist created is a very personal thing then when a viewer sees it, he/she has the freedom of perceiving it in his/her own way.”

 

The Perception Battle (as I like to call it) might have happened with you too at some point of time. Whatever result it has led to, the most important thing is that we should not let others diffuse our perception and neither should we try to diffuse theirs.

And to all the teachers, maybe your perception of literature, art may clash with your students. It is my humble request to you that don’t let their perception get diffused with the ones suitable to be written in examinations. ☺

With these words it’s obvious what our next question is going to be.

 

Sir, what are your views for our education system?

“Our educational system requires a complete revival because it has just become a manufacturing system. It has turned into a factory, we put students there, give them a degree and that’s it. Students’ real grooming, real personality development are widely forgotten in this process.

To make students good human beings, putting good values in them should be very important. Our education system does not justify many things. It just says this thing has happened, so remember it and move on.”

 

Do you agree?

The BV Gallery features a variety of stone sculptures along with other forms of visual art and since Bhupesh Ji has a sculpturing background, let us hear from him about the art form in a little detail.

 

Tell us something about your work?

“Well, every art form is equally adorable but personally I love to work with stones. Granite, Marble, Sandstone etc. and sometimes I even add steel to the stone but yeah you can say my medium for expression is basically stones only.”

 

From a block of stone to a sculpture!! How does it happen? Where do you begin from?

“First part of the process is thought process. In it when you first see the stone you’re going to work on, you don’t think about carving it. You try to understand it. Sometimes the stone tells you how you should begin. It gives you an intuitive point to start your work from. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to do while sometimes you may choose the material and start if you already know what you’re going to build.”

 

With so much variety of stones, does the requirement of technical skills, tools vary?

“Yes, both techniques and tools vary. And along with them, positioning of the stones, arrangement of grains, layers are also important. For instance, if you are working on a sedimentary rock then you have to be careful that you don’t strike in its layers so as to avoid it being damaged. Tools too vary and they depend on the stones you are working with.”

 

Your knowledge is very impressive. Did it evolved over years of working or you learnt it from somewhere?

“This could be achieved only with time by working continuously, reading and learning from accidents. By doing wrong things, technique wise, like damaging a stone by using a wrong technique and by understanding the reason why did it happen.”

 

Sir, according to you, which has been your best work up till now?

“It’s a difficult question. It is like asking a mother, which one is her favourite child.”

(With laughs)

 

Okay, so any work that has challenged you creatively?

“Well if you see on Rani Road, there is a big sculpture placed their titled “Windows to Nature”. It was part of a one month symposium which I was conveying. It was a huge responsibility because we invited 16 Big sculptors from all over the world and I was managing each and everything. And in all that business, I was unable to complete my own sculpture.

Luckily, I was able to get an extension of 10 days and I took two blocks which no other artist had chosen and an idea clicked in my mind and I completed this huge work within 3 days.”

Windows to Nature

I bet all of us will be having our own moments with this piece of art.  ☺

 

Sir, as an internationally recognized sculptor, what effects fame had(ve) on your life and work?

“Till now due to all the patronization and encouragement that I have received I have become more motivated to prove by my artwork. Now when I have everything else my struggle starts with my work only. I have become more confident, more self-criticizing.”

 

Sir, along with you there are other people also working in the gallery. So, are there any opinion differences that occur between the artists?

“Here as such there is no agenda of working together so each artist is working on their own and hence, the chances of disputes are greatly minimized. And, when we sit together and discuss our views on universal things then they are more of discussions and understanding of each other’s views.”

“So, here, every discussion is taken in a positive way mostly” added Siddharth. (smile)

“Yes! Absolutely!!” (smiled back)

Our time in the gallery was flowing like a breeze. Both of us were enjoying the conversation and popping out questions but unfortunately not all of the questions could make their way into this article but ek last question toh banta he. ☺

 

What are your plans for coming years?

“We have set up a studio near Thur Ki Paal. It is full of natural landscape and beauty. We are currently planning to build artist residencies there so that artists from all over the world can come and work here.

Also, if someone is interested in learning the sculpturing art then they could also volunteer. There would not be any professional teaching but I would indeed share my experiences with them.”

 

Bougain Villaea is a beautiful piece of work in our city or one can say it is a collage of the talent and the art, our communities should possess.

I am still surprised, how such a beautiful place still remains hidden from our sight. Maybe, it is because of lack of concern for our own talents or of the way we perceive things.

Whatever the reason may be, I would say, if you live in Udaipur then you must visit the “Bougain Villaea Gallery” before visiting any other gallery in other cities. The standards that this gallery has set are world class.

We will always cherish the sparkling conversation we had with Mr. Bhupesh Kavadia. Sir, we salute you for the work you did not only for our city but also for our country. We hope to see you soon in future achieving great heights with your work.

Leaving you with a glimpse of what Bougain Villaea has to offer. We bid you adieu. Hope your journey there be a bliss.

Kudos!

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Bougain Villaea Udaipur

Bougain Villaea Udaipur

Bougain Villaea

 

Bougain Villaea

Bougain Villaea

 

 

You can visit the gallery at:

Bougain Villaea Gallery

280, Rani Road, Fatehsagar Lake,

Udaipur-313004, India

Tel: +91-294-2431116, 2431117

Email: info@bougainvillaea.co.in

Website: www.bougainvillaea.co.in

 

Photo Credits: Siddharth Nagar, Kashish Chandrayan

[Intro Entrepreneurs] Prateek Parihar – Hotel Panna Vilas

As the weather turned from a warm day to a rainy day, I had a feeling that this interview was going to be a special one because I was going to interview a Young Entrepreneur I have heard a lot about but knew nothing about. He was my age when he started his business and now he is an hotelier, a young and visionary businessman, a trend setter, a talented musician and a really nice human being.

Prateek Parihar started his hotel and restaurant business on his ancestor’s property near the Lake Fatehsagar at a very young age of 20 and went on to become a very well-known and successful person of Udaipur.

Prateek Parihar
Prateek Parihar

Let’s hear from him the story of his life and his endeavour.

Tell us about yourself and the story behind the beginning of Panna Vilas.

“I have done my schooling from the St. Pauls and under-graduation from HL College of Commerce. After graduation I came back to Udaipur as I needed a job experience of 1 year at least before pursuing MBA. During this time it came into my mind to turn my ancestor’s property into a hotel and restaurant business in which I had quite an interest. So I utilized all the money I was going to use for my MBA fees to set up the Hotel Panna Vilas Palace.”

Hotel Panna Vilas, Udaipur
Hotel Panna Vilas, Udaipur

 

You were very young when you started Panna Vilas, What did you had in your mind then? Any plans or strategy?

“I started Panna as a hotel with 6 rooms long before setting up the lounge & restaurant. I knew that it was going to be a place that I searched for in the city as a youngster myself.

From the beginning I was keen on pulling the youngsters to my Lounge & Restaurant. Initially I started with only 4 tables on the roof of the Panna Vilas and as the response of the people began to grew, we slowly diversified and came up with the lounge & restaurant. The response we got for the lounge & restaurant was very good. And then it just went on…”

 

Panna Vilas had done very well. Almost every person in Udaipur knows about it. It has become a name of quality. Did you expected such a positive response from the people when you started?

“No I did not expected such a positive response from the people. It was quite surprising and a sheer luck to be true. I believe if you provide a good service and place then the people are going to like it always.”

Panna Vilas Lounge & Restaurant has undoubtedly amassed big reputation in the public for its quality and ambience. It has always been able to surprise us with new concepts. Once again it is going to surprise us with its new deck restaurant “The Palanquin”

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant

Palanquin celebrates the beauty of the Lake Fatehsagar and the heritage of Panna Vilas with its beautiful & eco-friendly construction and its air- conditioned interiors made of recyclable materials such as glass & wood and a deck restaurant which is first in its class in the city.

At Palanquin one can enjoy both the feel of the roof top via deck and an air conditioned dining with the startling view of the Fatehsagar.

Let us hear more from the man behind this idea.

 

When did you get the idea of the Palanquin and about the deck design?

“We used to get a lot of complaints regarding shishas (hukkah) from the concerning parents and when we learnt that they are going to be banned in Udaipur we started shifting our focus to restaurant and the hotel.

A deck is basically a wooden structure above the water level. We incorporated this concept in our design and started to build a deck restaurant and an air-conditioned restaurant below it. Since most of the roof tops can run only during evening the Palanquin offers a comfortable dining during day time too and a roof- top experience via its deck.

But since the construction was banned near the lake side so we came up with an alternative idea of making a structure which does not utilises cement, concrete and other usual construction materials.”

The Two level deck restaurant is built with eco-friendly materials.
The Two level deck restaurant is built with eco-friendly materials.

The new Panna Vilas will not only feature the Palanquin but also some new additions in future such as more rooms, a lake facing conference hall, an indoor swimming pool and a spa.

Panna Vilas is also introducing its own all night food delivery service very soon. This service will serve food delicious as home cooked food at affordable prices.

Prateek Parihar is a dynamic person who is full of life and energy. He is still young and has a long way to go but what matters the most in the business are the initial years. That struggle and hard-work you put into your ideas before they become reality. This thought made me curious to know more about his initial years.

 

How were the initial years of your entrepreneurship?

“To be true I didn’t struggle too much. I was specialised in finance which is a totally different field. So the success of the restaurant was a sheer luck. I was more focused on making place better and again I believe in making customer satisfaction a priority. I tried to make Panna Vilas the best in its field and its offerings be it the food or the rooms or the shisha.”

“We have also hired a professional chef to provide authentic Mexican food from Dubai.” 

Authentic Mexican Dish

 

Panna has brought you a lot of fame. What do you have to say about that?

“You see restaurant and hotel industries are more of a glamour industries. Once your place is running well everyone begins to know you which in-turn builds a good PR.

I don’t think I’m famous. It’s just that people know me as a person who started a business in his twenties and it helps in building good relations. Udaipur is a small city and almost everyone knows each other so maintaining good relations is healthy.”

 

So is there any other family member involved with the business?

“Yes, My younger brother Siddhant Parihar has started overlooking the restaurant.”

 

What is the best part of being an hotelier and a restauranter?

“Umm…your life becomes easy. You have staff to work for you. It’s not like you get too much money from the restaurant business. ”

 

Talking about hotel and restaurant industry what are your advice to the upcoming entrepreneurs?

“My advice to them will be that come into this field after you have thoroughly decided. Firstly because you have to deal with human resources which is becoming rare to find and is getting more costly.

Secondly, never start restaurant as your primary business. If you want to set up a secondary business than enter this field because in the starting 3-4 years it is very difficult to survive in this field. Most people are also not aware about essential business terms like third party insurance, food license etc.

But if you want to come into this field then come with proper preparation. Restaurants is a glamorous industry whose best parts are that life becomes quite easy and your liquidity is well maintained.”

 

Every entrepreneur needs an inspiration at some point. Who or what was your inspiration?

“I wanted to build the restaurant of the calibre of Ambrai and hotel of the calibre of Ram Pratap Palace.

Other individual who inspired me the most was Fathegarh’s Joy Banna.. I met him during my schooling years through my father. He started off with HRH Group and went on to establishing a chain of hotels. I wanted to become like him. I still take advices and suggestions from him from time to time.”

 

You are a young person and must have witnessed the city with a unique perspective. How will you comment on the Udaipur’s growth and its potential for youngsters?

“I feel that Udaipur should not be developed. The development is destroying the natural beauty as well as disturbing ecological balance of Udaipur.

Apart from this the Udaipur’s expansion is going to decrease its tourism. Udaipur is no more a tourist destination according to me. It is becoming more of a wedding destination.”

I too agree with his views. The sudden growth of Udaipur is leading to quick loss of greenery and natural beauty. The unplanned expansion of city can be very stressful for its resources in future; on a serious note!

“…and considering for youngsters the city is going to take lot of time to develop for them. At least 10 years in my opinion. Our society is still not accepting the new trends easily.”

Indeed! We are far away from any developed city. I hope that in future this city becomes the best example of modernization amalgamated with culture beautifully.

 

Coming on to the last question of the interview. What are your future plans?

“I am currently pursuing degree in music from Trinity College, London. In future I’m planning to start a music academy focussing mainly on guitar.”

An entrepreneur in my views is a person with an idea and no knowledge about how big the idea is going to be. Since I have met many entrepreneurs during my interviews I have learnt a lot from them. However this interview has left a great impact on me and hope it leave such an impact on you too. Veiled behind the face of the business seeing these people doing the impossible is very inspiring. In fact I am writing this article for a brilliant mind, the founder of the UdaipurBlog, Sanjit Chohan.

Leaving the Panna Vilas with the lots of cherishable memories. Our team wished Prateek Parihar tremendous success in future. Visions he has for the city are definitely worth waiting for. Ending this beautiful interview I am going to leave you with the beautiful pictures of the Palanquin and the Panna Vilas Palace. 

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant 3

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant 3

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant 3

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant 3

Palanquin Lounge and Restaurant 3

If you like the article do share your comments with us.

Read More About Such awesome Entrepreneurs in Udaipur

[Intro Entrepreneurs] Rajesh Soni – Gallery One

“I was 14 years old when I earned my first penny, 30 Bucks for a sketch. For me it was a moment of pride and motivation to continue my work.” says Rajesh Soni as he opens up about his life and career as an artist.

It was a warm evening when I first met Rajesh ji at his gallery “Gallery One” located near Chandpole. Featuring a beautiful waterfront with petals floating in it and his latest works displayed behind the glass wall, the first look of gallery was quite captivating. Even though it might not be as big as other art galleries “Gallery One” has a subtle aura to it that’ll attract you towards it. And adding to this aura with his charisma and friendly personality he welcomed me into his gallery.

Gallery One - Rajesh Soni

 

As we walked into the gallery I began scouring it when my eyes stopped on a canvas covering an entire wall of the gallery, wondering what it was for?

Rajesh Soni - Gallery One
You can see the blank canvas on the wall

As I scoured further; his alluring and amazingly detailed sketches, paintings and other art works got my attention. A work table, a vintage camera, a floor lamp and other artefacts added creativeness to the Gallery One.

This was the time when a question began to tickle in my head.

 

Why did you choose to be an artist?

“Before me, my family already had an artistic background. My Grandfather was the photographer and artist of Maharana Bhopal Singh of Mewar and my father also pursued the same profession. Because of this I also started taking interest in painting and sketching at an early age.”

 

Who was your first mentor?

“When I started practicing initially I used to see my father work and then I began to do things by seeing him work. Whenever I stumble upon something I could not do my father used to help me out.”

 

You must have had a deep connection with your father since early years. Did your entire family supported your career choice?

“Yes! My parents played an important role for my dreams. They supported me and guided me in the right direction and were there to pick me up whenever I fell. They didn’t forced me to take any other profession despite knowing this field can be highly unstable.”

You are a very lucky person to get support from your family especially in a society where so many dreams are crushed by family only.

When you started it must have been a bumpy ride learning to do things, building audience, choosing what to sketch.

 

How were your early years?

“When I entered this field I was learning art and I thought I cannot demand any price for something I am still learning. So in the starting I started talking to tourists who used to come here and gradually improved my English speaking skills with their help. Along with this I used to work as a guide and show them city’s monuments and heritage.”

“Then I started showcasing my art skills by working in public places such as Fatehsagar, Gangaur Ghat, Café Coffe Day. During that time people used to come and watch me working, creating a sketch from nothing but only a blank paper and pencil. Then they started commenting on my work. I still remember, I was 14 years old when I earned my first penny, 30 Bucks for a sketch. For me it was a moment of pride and motivation to continue my work.”

 

What was the best comment you ever received?

“It was from my father. He said to me that you continue working with your heart and keep practicing until you achieve your target.”

“After my public hours gained me some exposure, people started to call me for private works. So along with my art interests I also started working on commission works to support myself. I used to draw sketches of houses, people etc.”

“Then after earning enough recognition and gathering funds to work on my creativity, I started to work on buildings especially heritage buildings followed by street art and then photography plus sketching.”

“During these years I learned a lot and started keeping myself updated. I began to change painting styles, ideas every few months. This gave me both uniqueness and has been helping in keeping my works fresh and creative.”

You are world famous for your hand painting skills and I can clearly see that your talent cannot be caged into just one style. It is wild, free and always ready to explore new dimension.

 

What was the first idea that you stumbled upon?

“When I started my work the first idea that came to my mind was to protect heritage of our city. To realize this dream I started to promote heritage buildings and their beautiful architecture through my work.”

“Along with this I started learning photography to expand my abilities. In 2007 I met an American photographer Waswo X. Waswo during one of his exhibitions. This is when I told him about my hand colouring skills. Luckily he showed keen interest in it. Hand colouring was a lost art form when we began to work together on it. He used to compose the shots and photograph them and after that I would hand colour those developed photographs. The same thing my grandfather used to do for Maharaja.”

 

Did you had any idea then that this little adventure of yours is going to make you world famous?

“No. I guess it was a sheer coincidence that this thing took off.”

“Since then it has been eight years we are working together.”

 

Where could we see your hand coloured photos?

“We’ve printed a book titled “Men of Rajasthan” in which these photos are elegantly displayed.”

Apart from the “Men of Rajasthan” you can also see his hand coloured photos and other artworks at Madri Haveli.

Starting as a person with passion for art you have climbed up a long road. During all these years you must have had your own ups and downs. It is really wonderful to see that 14 year old boy in you still alive.

Rajesh Soni with book Men of Rajasthan (at Madri Haveli)
Rajesh Ji Soni with book Men of Rajasthan (at Madri Haveli)

Which one painting of yours you love the most?

“Ummm…I remember there was this painting of Buddha. I made with my imagination in which I made Buddha using lotus.”

Painting of Buddha in which Buddha is made using petals
Painting of Buddha in which Buddha is made using petals

 

How did you manage to stay motivated and focused all these years? What is your secret?

“The only secret behind this is that when I first drew something it was because I loved doing it.”

“I love art be it sketching, hand colouring, painting. It makes me happy. And that is my secret.”

I would steal this para to say to everyone reading this to do what makes you happy. The journey might be bumpy but being happy with what you are doing would make it easy and an incredible journey.

Signor there is so much more to you than just hand colouring which made me knock on your door. The things you are doing are really mind blowing but It is also true that you are just a petal in this flower of art. There are so many amazing artist around the world even in our little city.

 

How do you manage to stay creative and unique in your field with so much competition?

“First of all I am not competing anyone. I love what I am doing and I am not a fond of “bhed chal”. Copying what someone has already created and is profitable is not me. Its true everyone needs money to survive and when going gets tough creativity also suffers. This is might be the reason why so many artists having really good skills copy others instead of creating something of their own.”

“But that’s not me. Even if I have to work on commission I keep finding ways to keep my work unique and creative.”

“I keep experimenting new styles, ideas and that is why you’ll always see me doing new things every few months.”

 

So what have you been working on lately?

“Recently I am working on portraying day to day life via my art. To do this I ride around the city clicking photographs of things or activities I find worth telling. Then I come back to my studio and study the photos selecting which parts I want to keep in my sketch.”

“Then I sketch the version of the photo. Usually all my art works have a message hidden in them.”

autowala painting

“Like look at this sketch of an autowala. You might think this is only a man fixing his auto. But if you give it a thought.”

“This autowala is telling us to never stop in life. No matter how big the hurdle is. Even if it breaks us down. We should use whatever we have to start fixing our life and keep moving instead of waiting for right time or tools.”

Wow! That was inspiring. Despite being educated till 10th you have wisdom than a college graduate.

 

Would you suggest young artist to take professional degree?

“This is everyone’s personal choice. But with my experience: No, I don’t think they should go for professional degrees if they are really interested in art because in our education system art is taught and when they graduate most of them had lost their creative insights. When I started learning I was only 12 and at present I am 32 and still learning. I gained a lot of experience in these 20 years with my creativity still alive.”

“I focused all my energy into the thing I love to do the most and the only thing I was taught were skills.”

 

How you first used your skills?

“When I began learning I needed something for practice so I bought a poster of Lord Ram. I still remember what I loved most about it was details. Then I started sketching it.”

“Whenever I used to get low I used to remember my father’s comment. “

“Continue working with your heart and keep practicing until you achieve your target.”

The glimpse of the same genes can be seen in his younger brother’s work too. While he is still a young fellow his talents did leave us amazed. He currently works with paper modelling and have created a wonderful and detailed model of a bike.

Paper Bike made by Rajesh ji’s brother.
Paper Bike made by Rajesh ji’s brother.

With this we left his studio and went on a little road trip to see his currently displayed works where we continued the interview.

At O’zen

While my eyes were still stuck over the biggest sketch I have ever seen in my life displayed on an entire wall of the restaurant I involuntarily asked

How long did it take complete this?

“8 months” he replied with a smile.

This sketch of Jagdish Mandir (displayed at O'zen) took 8 months to complete
This sketch of Jagdish Mandir (displayed at O’zen) took 8 months to complete

Seeing his talent on such a big canvas I could not help but ask

What was your most challenging work till date?

“Not this.”

“As I recall my toughest work was to redraw a photograph. It was a commission work and the reference photograph I received was smaller than a square of 2.5cm. The photo was taken from a very old camera and commissioner wanted me to draw a larger sketch of it.”

“It was a tough job. I had to invent a new technique to do it.”

You do both kinds of work commissioned and free will.

 

What do you have to say about your clients?

“Since I have worked with both Indian and foreign clients I can say that they both have different requirements. Indian clients are usually harder to please. They appreciate details and clarity in work. Western client mostly prefer ideas over details in work.”

You say Indian clients. If we talk about Udaipurites

 

 

What would say about their support?

“Well…foreign tourist are undoubtedly major supporter of art here but if we see local support it is very less. It would be really nice to see more support of local governments and people.”

“I have visited many countries especially in Europe where it was commendable to see the amount of support artists receive from their government.”

Then we went over to Madri Haveli where his hand coloured artworks were displayed.

Rajesh Soni and Waswo X. Waswo's hand color painting (displayed at Madri Haveli)
Rajesh Soni and Waswo X. Waswo’s hand color painting (displayed at Madri Haveli)

City of Lakes is undoubtedly blessed with world class beauty and world class talents to capture it. Before we met Rajesh ji the only thing we knew was that he is a brilliant hand colourist but now we are captured by his amazing talents that would leave you too amazed.

Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One Rajesh Soni - Gallery One

Wishing him best of luck for the future. We bid him adieu!

 

Contact:

E-mail: rajeshsoni18@hotmail.com

Website: http://www.rajesh-soni.com

Mobile: +91-9828247052

or simply visit him at

 

Gallery One

Inside Chandpole, 36, Udaipur, 313001 (Raj.) India

The Story of: Raven Charitable Trust

There is a bad world out there making us lose faith in good. But in that dusky graveyard of greed ridden souls when a child walks laying flowers on every grave, he unknowingly lays a new path for good proving that humanity and hope can still thrive in the darkest corners of the world. Raven Charitable Trust is one such infant organization which has made it its only goal to provide better and economical healthcare to people.

As like any other interview, we thought it to be, we packed our stuff and rolled. Although the destination and organisation of interest were changed, we had a hope of coming back with an amazing story to tell about the founding of the organisation. And Raven Charitable Trust didn’t disappoint us.

raven charitable trust logo

Where the usual stories of establishments may have heart touching beginnings, the story of this organisation has a surprising one.

In the year 2008 Mrs. Charlotte Raven visited India with her beloved husband. Mrs Raven who had lived in Kashmir earlier was more than eager to visit this country once again. But unfortunately during her visit, her husband fell sick and needed medical care. It was during this time of need that she was introduced to Dr Deepak Babel. Over the course of the treatment none of them knew that their casual conversations would lead to the beginning of something that would change not only their but also many other peoples’ lives too.

Mrs Raven and Dr Deepak Babel Dr C.S. Babel (with the Prince), Dr Deepak Babel and Dr Meetu Mehta

 

I know it is hard to believe that the seeds for Raven Charitable were sown somewhere in between those casual and friendly talks but it’s the truth and none of us know which next great organisation is hidden among our casual talks.  As it is wisely said “Chances are always there, it takes a wise mind to spot them.”

Since its beginning in 2009, and a year after, the Raven Charitable Trust has been sailing its two ships “DISHA” and “PEHAL” successfully under the captain-ship of Dr. Deepak Babel.

Well that was indeed the beginning for a healthcare organisation but the important part of the beginning that we discovered later were the two initiatives “DISHA” and “PEHAL”. They might not be the reason for beginning, but they are the reasons the organisation is known for.

DISHA PIC - Raven Charitable

“DISHA” was the first initiative of the RCT. It is basically a day care centre situated in Bari Village of Udaipur, Rajasthan. “DISHA” focuses on providing free healthcare for poor people. It has a well-built infrastructure which has been serving for greater good on the following purposes for rural population:

  •   General healthcare and hygiene
  •   Nutrition
  •   Women’s healthcare (Gynaecology/Obstetrics)
  •   Children’s healthcare (Paediatrics)
  •   Healthcare education

Now before we start talking about “PEHAL”, I would like to prepare you a bit. Thalassemia is an autosomal recessive blood disorder, functions by weakening and destroying Red Blood Cells.

Didn’t get it?

Don’t worry. We too didn’t get it until Dr Babel explained it to us after our first study of it on Wikipedia. So in simple words, Thalassemia is a genetically caused blood disorder which results in destruction of Red Blood Cells. For those of you who don’t know, Red Blood Cells are responsible for carrying Oxygen in blood.

So once they are destroyed there will be no way to transport oxygen, which is vital for human body, resulting in death of the person.

A bloody murderer it is.

      “Thalassemia”

The scary part of this story is that you, I, our friends, parents, cousins or any person we know could be a carrier of this disease. Thalassemia is diagnosed usually in babies. But this doesn’t mean we cannot be carrying it.  In medical terms we might be a carrier.

A carrier doesn’t shows signs of the disease but when two carriers mate and by chance two disease carrying genes are transferred to the new born, then the new born will be suffering from thalassemia or any other genetically transmitted disease. Therefore it is very important to get tested for genetic diseases before mating or planning to have a child.

Now that you know the basics about Thalassemia, we will go back to “PEHAL”. The whole purpose of “PEHAL” is to provide medical & financial care and attention to children suffering from Thalassemia. As its literal meaning, to initiate, “PEHAL” has initiated a revolution to educate people, cure Thalassemia and is helping families get back on track.

Since Thalassemia is usually fatal by the age of 2 to 3 years, the family of the child is affected both emotionally and financially. A part of “PEHAL” is working by connecting families of children together to make them strong and supportive. These families together help each other overcome fears which in turn help in better treatment for their children.

Children who are diagnosed with this disease have to undergo a life-long treatment which includes regular blood transfusion. The regular blood transfusion is also responsible for the biggest side effect of the treatment i.e. increased level of iron in the body.

Too much iron can result in damage to the heart, liver and endocrine system, which includes glands that produce hormones that regulate processes throughout the body. The damage is characterized by excessive deposits of iron. Without adequate iron chelation therapy, almost all patients with beta-thalassemia are likely to accumulate potentially fatal iron levels.

“PEHAL” helps families in understanding the purpose and importance of chelation therapy for a thalassemia patient. Other important aspect of this knowledge is that thalassemia patients should not be given extra iron.

A thalassemia patient is required to undergo blood transfusion so that the defective bone marrow remains suppressed and does not produce defective red blood cells. A normal transfusion costs around Rupees 8000 to 9000. “PEHAL” is helping in reducing this cost by 70%.

Alternative to transfusion is Bone Marrow Transplant which is quite a permanent cure. The cost of this treatment is estimated to be around Rupees 20 lakhs. “PEHAL” with the help of Apollo Group’s partnership has been able to provide bone marrow transplant at a reduced amount of 10 lakh rupees.

It will be quite harsh to say this, but it is an upsetting truth that thalassemia can destroy a family financially and its emotional implications are countless. And we are not talking about only the child suffering from it.

Usually Thalassemia is detected when the baby is of 8 to 9 months. The first symptoms are blood loss.  But before this a test can be done while the baby is still in the womb. This test can tell us if the baby has thalassemia or not. If it has thalassemia than parents should get the baby aborted. Abortion in such cases are legal.

Another test could be done which detects whether the parents are carriers of the disease or not. If found as carriers they should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

“PEHAL” is working round the clock to educate and help people to fight this disease. Presently they are catering 140 patients. All 140 patients are children of age between 2 to 10 years. With proper treatment in these modern times a thalassemia suffering patient’s life expectancy can be increased to a minimum of 30 years.

The captain of the ships “PEHAL” and “DISHA”- Dr Deepak Babel has been doing his job commendably well. The projects now have a dedicated team of experts, better and more knowledgeable families in terms of the disease(s) and a wide social reach. With the help of modern technologies they are connected to people via Facebook, blog etc. to spread awareness.

Dr Deepak Babel is unlike other doctor we have ever met. He is the first person to tell us that he not only suggests but also recommends alternative treatments such as homeopathy, reiki, Ayurveda etc. as long as they are helping in curing the problem. With the captainship of such a broad minded man we ask you to join and support him in driving these ships around the country to cure and save lives.

Wishing everyone associated with Raven Charitable Trust and its projects and their captain:

 todo lo mejor

 

You can contact RCT and Dr Babel at:

The Raven Charitable trust.
C/o Dr. Deepak Babel
Lakecity Hosiptal, 21 Fatehpura Bedla Road
Udaipur (Raj.), India
Mobile No. : +91-9828142100
Phone No. : +91-294-2451621
Fax :+91-294-2451865
E-mail: info@theravencharitabletrust.org

Blog: http://theravenfoundation.blogspot.in/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Raven-Foundation/88835809182

The Story of: Saral Blood Bank

Started in 2008, Saral Blood Bank has put itself on the map of health services quite boldly. Operated by Smt. Sarla Singhvi Charitable Society, Saral Blood Bank is a state of the art facility with high end infrastructure and services to collect, store, process and supply blood.

The blood bank attained its license in February 2008 after meritorious efforts made by Mr. Shyam Singhvi, its founder. Chartered Accountant (CA) by profession, Mr. Singhvi has been efficiently managing the blood bank since 2008.

mr shyam singhvi, saral blood bank

Wondering why a Chartered Accountant would go through all the troubles to set up a blood bank?

That’s the exact question which we were thinking before interviewing him.

The story behind the foundation of the Blood Bank goes before 2005. As Mr. Singhvi remembers, it was in the year 2003 when his wife Smt. Sarla Singhvi was diagnosed with cancer. Before leaving the world, Mrs. Sarla Singhvi asked her husband to setup a blood bank so that the people of their city did not have to face troubles. After her passing it was jotted down in Mr. Singhvi’s memory with an iron pen to make her last wishes come true.

His journey began on 25th August, 2005 and seemed as if it was decided in heaven that he won’t stop till he completes the journey of establishing a blood bank. A candidate of his stature had to personally travel more than 40 times to Jaipur and more than 10 times to Delhi in order to just get the license for the blood bank. Where corruption guards the way, Mr. Singhvi chose to take another way round.

In Februrary 2008 his efforts finally paid off. The then health minister, Mr. Digambar Singh Choudhary gave him the NOC. The cherry on the top was that Mr. Singhvi’s efforts got the blood bank both component and whole blood license too. Till then there was no license for components in Southern Rajasthan and General Hospital had only whole blood license.

saral blood bank

The Blood Bank works under Smt. Sarla Devi Charitable Society. Located at: 30, Near Math, Bhupalpura, Udaipur-313001, Rajasthan, India.

The blood bank was inaugurated by Dr. Digamber Singh, the then health minister, along with Dr. VN Shrikhande on 23rd April 2008.

As Mr. Singhvi says, ‘Since then the blood bank is running continuously and has never been shut down for even an hour’. The blood bank has been designed by REMI. The building has a sterile environment and is centrally air conditioned with latest equipments for testing, storing and collecting blood.

Another amazing fact that Mr. Singhvi recalls is that when the ‘Saral’ was founded, with every blood bag, they asked people for replacement when they were capable of doing so. At the beginning almost 33% blood was collected from volunteering donors and rest was collected by requesting to people. After almost 6 years of its foundation the scenario has changed. As the smile on Mr. Singhvi’s face widens and his eyes glow with happiness he is proud to say that now 70% of blood is collected by volunteering donors.

As noble as the idea behind its foundation, Saral Blood Bank shares a noble mission too. The blood bank charges as per the rates fixed by the Government of India. The patients of severe diseases such as thalassemia are give blood free of cost. People who are below poverty line are also given blood free of cost once their BPL certification is verified. Two doctors are always posted (on duty) at the Blood Bank.

The bank now uses automated testing machines by ELISA Technologies. It has also started using gel technology for grouping and cross matching. The bank has a capacity of storing 600 to 800 units of blood at a time and blood is stored in a ‘triple bag’. A triple bag is a blood bag which is used to store components of the blood. Once blood is collected from a person, it is centrifuged and the components: Packed Red Cells, Plasma and Platelets are stored separately. In this way one unit of blood can save three different lives.

Saral Blood Bank has now become a component of ‘Saral Society’, which is dedicatedly providing Mobile Hospitals, Educational & Health Services for the poor and needy in rural areas, Purified Water Services at Government Hospital in Udaipur, 24*7 Ambulance Services and the like.

Once started as a dream, the Saral Blood Bank is now proudly serving the society and can be credited for saving hundreds of lives each day. Recall last time you saved one. Dreams indeed sound crazy, impossible and meaningless, until someone takes the bold step to make them come true. None of us could understand the impression a 450ml blood bag leaves on a person’s life, whether it be a donor or a receiver.

We have all developed the habit of laughing things out. All we need to do is laugh out at people who don’t donate because they find it useless. Except when one is not suitable for donation, each of us should donate blood at least once in life.

My job may have finished at writing this article, but yours has just begun. The contact details of the Blood Bank are given below. Make sure to do your bit. It can save a life.

Address: 30, Near Math, Bhupalpura, Udaipur – 313001, Rajasthan

Phone: 0294-2416285, 09166614802

 

Photo Credits : Kashish Chandrayan

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