Richa Rajyalakshmi: The Quilts of Change- Reviving the Art of Block Printing
Girl Power Talk interviews Richa Rajyalakshmi, the founder of Chitranjani.
1. Your life has been one academic adventure. How would you describe this journey of studying commerce, then fashion, and, finally, law?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: First of all, I would like to mention I never thought I would be going so far with my studies. The journey of studying in various fields has taught me to be a better person and be more mature as one learns a lot about life while studying a particular subject.
2. How do people react when you tell them you’re going back to school and are currently studying law?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: Fortunately, people around me have been very supportive about me starting to study once again. Family members and friends have encouraged me to go ahead with it.
3. What is your venture “Chitranjani” about and why did you choose this particular field?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: Chitranjani focuses on Indian artisans. Drawing its roots from a cluster of age-old towns in Rajasthan, hand block printing is an ancient textile craft.
Chitranjani as a brand showcases the talent of countless generations of craftsmen and artisans. The block designs are complemented by schematic drawings that reveal the ingenuity, dynamism, and beauty of each individual design.
The palaces and forts of Rajasthan, particularly those of the 17th and 18th centuries, and the wonderful mazes of their courtyards, narrow interlinking walkways, steep staircases, and hundreds of rooms are some of the intricate details of architecture that inspire the artisans at Chitranjani.
Rajasthan is well-known for its dense concentration of textile artisans who have been using the same method for hundreds of years. The artisans showcase the art that they have brought down through generations. They carve an intricate design on the wooden blocks, later used for printing fabrics, where the technique used is meticulous and prove that wonderful craftsmanship is found in India.
Home furnishing products with fine hand block prints elevate the space of a room by giving it a contemporary touch. Our collection showcases handcrafted legacy and fabrics used are pure mulmul and cotton. Mulmul is delicate and lightweight, making our product for all seasons, and cotton adding softness to our products.
4. How was life growing up with a sibling with special needs? How did it affect your perception of things, and life, in general?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: Growing up with a sibling with special needs, in the beginning, was challenging. It took me time to understand her as she went through a tough phase when it came to social and physical acceptance. With time and huge family support, things started to become better and she grew up with cousins who made her feel she was not missing out on life after all.
My perception towards things and life is that you can’t take anything for granted, because even a small thing like listening to music is something that my sister can’t do but I can. This makes me realize that I have been very lucky with everything and I am grateful for what I have. My sister has taught me patience and acceptance on a huge level because seeing her in life and being positive is something I learn every day.
5. How has Vaani Vikas Kendra been instrumental in your quest for giving back to society?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: Vaani Vikas Kendra is an institute so close to my heart and will always stay like that. Helping the kids with hearing aids and paying for their education makes me feel like I’m giving back to society. Trust me when I say that, without the help of my customers and followers on Instagram, it wouldn’t have been possible. Everybody who purchases my brand product is a part of this journey and motivates me every day to work hard for society.
6. What was your childhood in Danta like?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: My childhood in Danta was full of exploring things and playing outdoors, whereas today it is so difficult to get the kids out, especially with their iPads and video games. My childhood was spent spending a lot of time with animals as I love them, especially dogs.
7. What do you like to do outside of work?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: I love reading and working out. I try to be regular but being lazy these days. Outside of work and studies, which are going on simultaneously, there are days where I don’t want to do anything except just sitting quietly and enjoying my own company.
8. How do you feel about being given the title of a princess?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: All I can say I’m grateful to God for being born in a family with a rich heritage and culture, but we must move ahead with modern times while also taking our heritage forward.
9. Does your ‘royal background’ affect the way people treat you and perceive you?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: My royal background at times does affect how people see me, and they feel that I have got things easy at times. Some feel I’m lucky, but I feel that we all are lucky to be born to such wonderful parents who go out of their way to make sure we are happy. Yes, I am lucky- I cannot deny it- but I have had my share of hard work. Everything is not easy and times have changed. To be in society, we all need to make our name.
10. What message do you want to give to your female readers?
Richa Rajyalakshmi: My message to all the female readers is that things are never easy but hang on to what you have dreamt of. Do not be in a hurry thinking that everyone around you is moving ahead and you aren’t. It is okay to take your time and do things at your own pace, as you need to be happy in what you do. Fight for equality but fight for the right kind of equality. Most importantly, please be happy in your own skin and accept yourself.
In the end, I would just like to add that I hope we will all stay together in this journey, and together inspire others and get inspired.