Arjuna came to fruition one sultry summer evening while ensconced in my home, in the throes of a seemingly endless quarantine. A far cry from the trappings of some buzzing Palo Alto-styled tech incubator, my makeshift office had then formed the backdrop to one of the biggest leaps of faith I have ever taken in my professional life.
But as I sit here, penning this inaugural post, that first-time-entrepreneur anxiety which has tightened its grip over me the last few months has now slowly surrendered to feelings that once seemed alien. I now awaken each morning to a refreshing sense of purpose, the undercurrent of which is this pointed zeal for work that my previous jobs never inspired.
Why, you ask? Well, the immediate answer is that I am now doing something that genuinely interests me, uncovering artifacts meant to enliven one’s home and channeling them to people like me, lovers of clean lines and admirers of the baroque.
But the deeper answer is a rejoinder to my entire professional life thus far: I am a cultivator at heart who is finally building something that will (hopefully) endure. That is to say, Arjuna is much more than just one of the myriad e-facilitators operating from a corner of the internet, proffering wares to an undifferentiated public. Rather, it is a clarion call to undiscovered and even uncertain craftsmen from every corner of the earth, an online space for office-denizens-by-day to courageously turn design-aficionados-by-night. Whatever one’s persuasion, my goal is to create a platform to showcase designs, paintings, housewares and furnishings that transform mundane dwelling spaces into pockets of radiance and flourish. These high-minded aspirations are deliberate and are part of my very conscious effort to equip artists and patrons alike with an environment they need to elevate their everyday.
A popular refrain from ancient Indian scriptures is that one is a sum total of one’s past. If this bears true, then I suppose I am a product of my ethnically aware upbringing topped off by a career spanning almost 15 years traversing the world while plying my trade in international affairs and women’s empowerment. Culminating with my recent work at the World Bank where I immersed myself in understanding (and challenging!) barriers to female entrepreneurship worldwide, my mindset is informed by the nuances of global voices, struggles and visions.
My corporate career ended last year when I took a pause to be fully present for motherhood. Since then, I have come to appreciate the critical and often overlooked distinction between the mere structure that is a house and the blissful, enveloping tranquility that becomes a home. Having the latter is a privilege. One that I have gratefully and humbly accepted for myself and which I work tirelessly to provide to others. Indeed, the latter is what has kept me grounded during my many moves to faraway countries, small children in tow. The latter is what has instilled in me and my family an equanimity amidst the shifting sands of people, jobs, cultures and languages that have become emblematic of my expatriate life over the past decade.
But elevating one’s dwelling space from the commonplace is no abrupt feat. It takes time to build the edifice of a sanctuary, brick by brick, piece by piece. With a singular focus on South Asian décor, it is my intention that each item designed and curated by Arjuna is to be a beacon of symmetry and elegance. An interweaving piece of an exquisite puzzle that is your work in progress.
With that, Arjuna is proud to present to you our debut collection, Verdure.