“With arts, the common notion is to only pursue them as a hobby and never as a full-fledged job. Rarely are people even appreciative of professional artists, and most often look at them with contempt, in the assumption that they are less successful monetarily.
And as a woman in the field, it was all the more difficult for me, with various questions being posed at every step of my journey.
You see, as a young girl of thirteen, I was thoroughly intrigued by henna patterns. Slowly, the curiosity grew into an undying passion that got me to start working right at fifteen. Seeing how good I was at my craft, I was offered my first job as a part-time Mehendi artist at a friend’s parlor, post-school. It was a complete thrill to earn my own money as a kid, though it was as little as 150 Rupees, especially since it was for something I thoroughly enjoyed.
Now, all that accompanied by a father who was always rooting for his daughter’s dreams helped me explore and slowly leverage the talent for a career. And today, as a thirty-year-old entrepreneur, it’s all thanks to him and my husband, without whom my journey wouldn’t have taken off. I finally managed to shine as a Henna artist with her own mehendi studio and, of course, a loyal clientele, who’ve stuck by for years.
But this is not to say that the path has been all easy. There were multiple times, when my work was taken for granted, with even celebrity clients, refusing to pay after hours of work put in. In some households, my team is not even offered water and is made to sit in garages for hours, whilst being bargained to reduce our rates. It’s a tough call at such times, to prioritize self-respect and politely walk away from the scenario, especially if the client doesn’t understand the value of the man-hours that go into what is referred to as ‘just’ Mehendi.
Nevertheless, the challenges barely seem big, especially with my husband by my side at all times. He is truly my lucky mascot, who understood the potential of my work and ensured to uplift my dreams by helping me launch my studio professionally. A man balancing his work, whilst fuelling the dreams of his lady was enough motivation for me to look past the disadvantages and persevere. We started with just a pillow and now are on our way to owning a house! In the end, I guess it is true- behind every successful lady, there is a supportive man, be it a father or a partner!”