Shifting Base: Bhagyashree Patwardhan | Verve Magazine
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January 04, 2017

Shifting Base: Bhagyashree Patwardhan

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Jane D'Souza

The founder and creative director at Paper Boat Collective on the guts, passion and madness that prompted her to move to Goa

After finishing her post-graduation from NID in 1998, this multifaceted businesswoman lived mostly in Mumbai but also in Kochi, Bengaluru and Pune, working in various fields of design for over 15 years. From heading a product design studio to managing the visual merchandising for a retail chain, running her own design company and directing the art for two sound and light museums, Bhagyashree Patwardhan ostensibly had and did it all. However, she was running her own pottery studio in Mumbai with her partner when she realised “the city was killing my spirit”. Decidedly not fulfilled or at peace, they simply packed up and moved…and the rest is her story.

Alien pace
“After the fast-moving Mumbai life, it took a while to start enjoying a laidback lifestyle. Even more so because I still wanted to work and start a new business, so the mind was full of plans and ideas but things take their own sweet time here. Goa is quite the village, except when you’re a tourist. Everything takes time, a lot of things are not available, skilled labour and professionalism doesn’t exist. So finding one’s way around all this from a work perspective…that was challenging.”

Unconscious influences
“This place is already changing. We all come here to absorb the quiet and enjoy the peace. But, once here, most people bring their energy and change the fabric of the environment. They want to turn it into what they’ve been familiar with; it’s only human. So little by little, we are all altering the soul of Goa.”

Sundry sentiments
“I left everything behind, except the experiences I had gathered over the years. My family always thought I was a tad crazy. (When you go to NID and come out with radical and out-of-the-box thoughts, they think that about you anyway.) My friends were envious!”

Country roads
“Once you land in Goa and get out of the airport, just two minutes into the drive you get onto a tree-covered winding road sloping down a hill with a wide expanse of backwater alongside. It just makes me breathe easy; fills my lungs with fresh air. It did the first time I came here and it does even today.”

Sole pursuit
“I didn’t ever consider any other place. Goa is Goa because it is still a melting pot of many cultures. It is quite cosmopolitan in nature and has an attitude much unlike anywhere else in India. I can’t think of any other place that would have allowed me to just be, to be free and explore and pursue my passions and dreams. I might consider the mountains, but only when I am ready to shift to an even quieter life!”

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