Food! Food has the power to unite to people from different walks of life together. Sharing a hot cup of Maggi noodles, cooked without the knowledge of the warden, solidifies the bond of hostel-mates. The aromatic elaichi tea from the shabby tea shop outside your elegant office building gives your interesting friends for a lifetime. The smile you give to a stranger when both of you pass by a small "bhai" biriyani shop inhaling the intense of aromatic spices and sighing, that forms a temporary bond of commonness and a reminiscence of all the sweet memories. All over the world people are uniting by the universal love for food. And that's how a gang of us got together in a restaurant and made bonds that would last a lifetime, and that's where I met Sukanya Kaur.
Ever met a woman, who stunned you for a minute, with nothing but a smile? That was Suki for me. From the perfectly arched eyebrows, the sculpted lips with a soft pink shade of lipstick and that intense eyes, she mesmerized me, captivated my attention. After that initial moment of speechlessness, she spoke. And I knew she was going to be a fantastic chapter in my life at that moment.
Sukanya is an architect by passion and profession, a skilled Bharatanatyam dancer, an adventurous foodie and your girl-next-door kind of fashionista. She displays us examples of elegant yet affordable fashion in her personal Instagram handle and take our taste-buds to a gastronomical tour on her other Instagram handle, @girlwithataste. The interiors that she has designed in many famous restaurants shows her expertise in her field of profession and needlessly to say, she moves like a gentle breeze when she dances. Needless to say, she immediately went into my list of inspiring women. And I had to ask her all the questions, I've always wanted to ask, to learn more about her, to get inspired more. There were so many things to ask her, I started with the one thing that piqued my curiosity the most.
“Where did you find your calling, to be an architect?” I asked her,
“I hail from a family of ‘Vishwakarmas’ who are Acharis, sculptors and temple architects. In fact, the silver chariot in our Kapaleeshwar temple was made by my great grandfather. Even as a child I was always fascinated with temples and old buildings. I still have an eye for anything that is vintage. To be honest, I never thought of taking up Architecture although my father is an Architect. I was under the impression that it involved a lot of Mathematics. When it was time to get into college, it was by chance I learnt that a friend of mine was taking the NATA exams and I gave it a thought. It was then I decided that I would follow in my father's footsteps. I strongly believe in DESTINY, and I believe that day changed my life, and there's no turning back!”
When you hail from a family that loves and lives with such passion for their art and historical pride, you tend to be insightful and look at things more in-depth than the normal eye. You tend to cherish them as part of your history. Part of yourself. And the feeling is tenfold when you create something on your own. That applies to every creative field of work, including buildings and interiors.
“Wow, do you draw inspirations for the themes you create? What is the trick to satisfy your customers?” I shot out my next question
“When a client approaches me with details for a project, a preliminary outline forms in my mind. I love vintage and cozy spaces. But not all areas can be treated the same. I first put my ideas on paper, and if I am stuck somewhere, then I look up for inspirations online. It's okay to get inspired by something, but one must never lose their individuality.
Satisfying the clients is the most challenging part of the design process. Everyone has a different perspective and taste. Most of the times my clients propose ideas that would never go with the theme, and initially, I had great trouble adjusting to that. But over time, I have learned to accept that it's their space and money and have found common ground.”
"True!" I nodded to myself. One of the most challenging and abstract areas in a design related profession is customer satisfaction. Each person's perception differs, and a single floral motif could satisfy the end user more than the abstract concept that you created, investing hours and hours and displaying all of your skill and expertise. What Suki has is a quite a stressful job where the potential of her creativity, the commitment she has for deadlines and the extent of her patience is continuously challenged. I am in a similar field, and I know it could be exhausting because all I want to do at the end of the work is to curl up in my bed, not wake up till the next day.
But this woman can have a tough call with a customer, then go to on a food walk with friends and dance it all off in the evening, all with a smile.
“An architect, a foodie, a fashionista, a dancer, where do you get your endless energy from? How do keep your fashion for so many things continuously recharged?” I asked her, quite amazed.
“The secret of my endless energy is definitely my FAMILY. My parents are extremely hard working and growing up, I have never seen them give up easily be it anything. My mother always made sure that I never wasted my time and would always keep me engaged in some activity or the other. While my friends would play after school, I was heading to dance, music, yoga and swimming classes. The routine continued through college. Till date, I am so used to multitasking that it comes to me naturally.
Although I play different roles in a day, the reason I keep going at it with so much passion is that I enjoy it thoroughly. Architecture never feels like work to me, I love creating something new. I have always been a foodie and food excites me. Dance defines me and makes me stand out. As for fashion, I love dressing up, and it so happens that people like my style.” She shrugged the last part of it elegantly.
I just don't happen to like her style, I am completely head over heels in love with it. She has effortless style, and her choices are so simple yet elegant and sensible. “Where do you draw your inspirations from?” I questioned her
“My sense of fashion is simple; Wear what is comfortable and dress according to my body. I like dressing up in sober colours and prefer only silk and cotton. A kanchivaram silk saree is any day close to my heart than a designer piece. I feel sarees are a significant investment because they never go out of fashion and you can always keep making new blouses over the time. Just because something is in Vogue doesn't mean it is going to look good on everyone. For example, I avoid wearing boat neck dresses or blouses, because I have broad shoulders and it'll make me look broader.
I don’t look for inspirations or try to take references from anyone’s looks. If something catches my eye, I buy it and put something together. Frankly speaking, I don’t find time to browse through a lot of fashion pages but would love to make time for it in the future.” She smiled.
I ‘ve got to say that I drool over her choice of sarees. They have such a vintage, classical touch to them. Just like her chosen form of dance. (Come on now, you folks know I was heading here). Sukanya is also an accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer, and recently she performed her thematic, solo dance presentation of “Rama Rasanubhavam," which was a treat to the eyes.
“What does dance mean to you?” I asked her,
“It means the world to me. I have been learning Bharathanatyam under my guru Smt. Urmila Sathyanarayan for the past 18 years. I joined classes at the age of 10 and have developed a strong sense of discipline and time sense from my teacher. I think the guru plays an important role in moulding an artist and I feel fortunate to have a teacher like mine. I enjoy doing ‘Abinayam' (facial expressions) and love to keep improvising on them whenever I get time. I only wish that I fix my injuries and get more time to practice and perform in the future.”
I could feel her passion and her zeal in every one of the answers she told, I could feel it touch and kick-start my heart like a bolt of electricity, and I knew I would carry this respect for her throughout my life. And all I had left me with was one last question.
“What message do you have for the women out there?” I asked
“Follow your heart. You are special in your own way, so don’t lose your confidence and let anyone or anything intimidate you. Hold your head up and march on!”
she said, painting a picture of her confident stance in my mind and I could nothing but grin with delight, taking pride in sharing the story of such an amazing to you folks!