Catalyst of Creativity
I believe in paving my own way through life and society. People like and respect you because of the person you are and not so much because of your family’s legacy.”
While growing up, 33-year-old Aishwarya Pathy (daughter of sugar baroness Rajshree Pathy) has had renowned artists and designers as house guests, while being surrounded by “beautiful, well-made objects”, and never missed the opportunity to travel for an interesting art show or a design exhibit. It was most natural for her, then, to work with her mother on projects that challenged and established aesthetic milestones. “There is a dearth of world-class design platforms and schools in India. We wanted to create something that would bring together creative individuals and businesses from all over the country. We felt the need for a design school for avant-garde design thinkers, a laboratory of sorts for their ideas; hence the concept of CoCCA came to fruition.”
The launch of IDF is a serious milestone in her life, as that set her apart as a pioneer. “I want IDF to be larger than a design conference restricted to Mumbai. It should traverse across the country and serve as a catalyst which changes the way people think about design. We aim to give Indian design the recognition it deserves — especially for the fine craftsmanship that exists in this country, the unique materials available only here and, of course, the talent.” IDF comprises a small team, where “everyone does everything.
For the most part I seek out interesting, new and original concepts in the world of design or in design education. I also handle tie-ups with various partners for the IDF event including sponsors, and work on the entire production.”
She is currently working on the next edition of IDF while also developing two new businesses with her real-estate-developer husband, Laxman Vaidya. Aishwarya juggles various roles by prioritising. “As a mother of two, it’s a constant struggle to do everything you want to do without feeling guilty about compromising somewhere! You do the best you can and try to have fun doing it.” Fond of travelling, spending time with her family and entertaining friends, she enjoys flexible working hours while multitasking, working off a daily task list. “I think it is important for a woman to be assertive — be it in her professional or personal life. Women are marginalised all the time, more so in our culture. We’re used to accepting that. I believe in a level playing field, so if you want it, you have to fight for it.”
Known to be spontaneous, Aishwarya describes her personal style as, “simple, timeless, chic and, most of all, comfortable.” She counts a pair of vintage art deco emerald earrings as her most treasured piece of jewellery and believes that dressing up for an occasion means, “wearing things that make you feel great.”
On looking at the future, she says, “A long time ago, I learnt to stop planning and embraced uncertainty. For me, it’s all about the present — enjoying where I am at this moment in time and not having expectations.”