Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I was born and brought up in Calcutta in a traditional business family. When I was eight, my mother started a salon in our home in Calcutta. It was a very bold step to take in those days. She was the first woman in our family to start working. My father supported her completely. And together my parents, brought up my elder sister and me with traditional values yet with the spirit to follow our dream.
From the very beginning my mother’s work fascinated me and after school hours every day, I spent all my time there. I took naps on the facial beds and did my homework while observing my mother as she conducted her business. And yet, it took me 24 years and several disagreements with my mother to finally admit that I truly, madly, deeply want to make a career in the beauty industry.
I had come to Delhi to do my masters in English Literature from JNU. After that I went on to do my MPhil and later enrolled for PhD (which I am yet to complete). Simultaneously, I started working in Good Housekeeping magazine as a beauty writer and then grew on to become the beauty editor for magazines like Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Health. After working for eight years as a beauty journalist, I moved on to join Sephora India as the head of marketing and later I worked as the marketing head for Crabtree & Evelyn and Satya Paul. It’s around this time that I developed a severe breathing problem and had to leave my job to build back my health. I turned to alternative healing and when I saw that working on me, I studied them to become a healer myself. Over the last three years I have learnt Bach Flower Remedy, Aromatherapy and Natural Perfumery, Chakra Healing and Transformational Yoga. Combining all this I started my little range of beauty products called Jhelum Loves.
I continue to pursue my love for writing and journalism through my website Beauty Beats. Along with this I also create content and manage social media projects for brands on project basis through my communication company of Candied Communication.
My own journey has caused me to believe that beauty is not a right, or a privilege but a seamless part of life. Everything you do for yourself – from the way you wear your hair, or your favourite shade of lipstick and how you host people at your home – reflects an inner, unique well of beauty. If you take a moment to look over at my bio, you will see that I have only ever worked in the beauty industry. Whether as a beauty writer, an editor, or, now, as the person that has conceptualised and launched this website and now handcrafted my brand of personal care and beauty products – Jhelum Loves – my approach to beauty has been centred around – how is this product/service/ritual/advice useful to every woman?
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
My focus right now is to spread the awareness about Bach Flower Remedies. These are gentle flower essences that have no side effects but when taken in the right combination, they can have far reaching benefits and deep healing. I also want to help people realise that beauty, health and emotions are interlinked and only when you are happy can you be healthy and beautiful. And your happiness is in your control alone. Realising this is the greatest empowerment.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
I don’t ever see anything as a challenge, every “challenge” is like an opportunity to better myself. So hurdles that I face, are for me learning experiences.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
I guess my biggest achievement is having been able to build trust and make my patrons smile. I make each product with complete honesty and pray that the person who uses that should have a smile on his/her face.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I don’t think I would be doing anything different. The essence of my work will always be an endeavour to become a source of happiness for myself and others.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My mentor, Dr Daisaku Ikeda, has been my biggest inspiration. Even at the age of 89, my mentor continues to strive each day to touch lives with hope and joy. That’s exactly what I wish to do each moment of my life – work on my behaviour to become a better and happier person and help others do the same.
What does the future hold for you?
The future holds limitless possibilities. I would want Jhelum Loves to be loved world over and I pray that each life that is connected to this endeavour grows and becomes happy. I hope by next year I can start my own flagship store and develop a healing center.