When the pandemic first hit, it turned our lives upside down. Thankfully, the world is re-emerging and we are witnessing a transition to some sort of normalcy. We spoke with Karishma Rathod (@karishma_parekh24), lawyer-turned-entrepreneur about life in lockdown, everything she’s learned so far, and life today. Rathod studied law in India and the United Kingdom and worked as a real estate lawyer for over six years before deciding to make a big shift and following her passion for jewellery. She recently launched her own jewellery brand ‘Anvaaya’ along with her friend Kanan, who is based in London.
Scroll on to read our chat.
What did you miss most about life during lockdown?
I really missed pilates at the studio, my meetings all across the city and getting a cup of coffee in the evenings on my way back home. How life would casually transition from one task to the other without too much thought! And I also missed hugging my friends! I am a big hugger.
What’s something you discovered during self-isolation?
I started yoga! It was always something I wanted to do but just never found the time for. I was motivated to make the most of the time at home so I took the plunge and started a very long morning routine. I would get up in the morning, sit on the terrace and meditate for about 25 minutes, followed by chanting. Then, I would walk on the terrace and finally have a 20 minute pranayama session.
I did a basic course in Ayurveda and got introduced to some amazing people and doctors which changed my perception about health and general wellbeing. Going to the park to hang out has become a lifestyle choice I do not want to part from.
How did you design and work during lockdown?
This one’s hard! I think Anvaaya took a big setback during the first lockdown. We were done designing by then and had even finished a photo shoot at Umaid Bhavan, Jodhpur. But my partner had to fly back to London because of the Covid-19 situation and we were not sure when we would really be able to launch. It was hard to get back on track.
We managed through FaceTime calls, accepted the situation for what it was. Thankfully, our packaging and most of our Instagram content was done during the lockdown. So we got more time to brainstorm and come up with ideas.
How are you finding new ways of working now?
We started our own office in the month of May 2021 and now have a small team which is growing every day. I feel like having gotten people on board has taken some load off both Kanan and I, who were both initially micromanaging every detail of the company. We still manage and create our social media content ourselves because we wanted it to be raw and true to the brands perception we have.
How did you find inspiration in lockdown?
I think the question should be about how I found motivation. It was hard. To be honest, not knowing how things will be the very next day, when shipping will open up, getting all the formalities out of the way and more. If things were better in Mumbai, then things weren’t the best in London or even Jaipur where our jewellery is manufactured. We decided we wanted to do something very different, something eco-friendly and reusable.
Something that directly inspired a collection or piece?
Yoga! The entire Flow line is based on the Surya Namaskara.
Do you have a morning ritual? How do you start your day?
I start my day with oil pulling. Then I have yoga class or Pilates on alternate days. Tea or coffee? Tea on days when it’s raining, coffee when I am out and about. I was a massive coffee drinker as a lawyer but I realised soon that it didn't really suit me.
Go-to breakfast on a busy day?
I never have breakfast. But if I had to, I would eat some South Indian food (rice kanji, idli, pongal). I do have a glass of milk to break my intermittent fast every day.
Any post lockdown travels?
Harsh (my husband) and I did Ranthambore last October, we did Rajasthan and Goa a few times too. We want to travel to France, which will hopefully be in September. *fingers crossed*
Where are you looking forward to traveling to?
Before the lockdown it was on my mind to see the Caribbean islands, mainly Cuba and Jamaica. I also really want to go to South America, particularly Bolivia. Hopefully we will make it to one of these by the end of the year. I just love the bright colours, vibrancy and the slow paced life on these islands.
How are you making the most of the city opening up?
I haven’t ventured out much yet. Just working and having meetings in cafés, using Soho Club for work, and meeting friends.
What are some spots that you love in the city?
One of my favourite places called The Pantry shut doors during the lockdown, but the Taj Tea House in Bandra is one of my favourite spots in Mumbai. I also love to pick coffee from this tiny coffee place called Javaphile.
Unwinding at the end of a long day?
A nice long stroll, a warm shower and using essential oils is my way to unwind. I recently tried this super calm oil by Uma and it's heavenly.
What is something that you're grateful for?
A lot actually. I maintain a journal for daily gratitude but that list can go on and on. But mostly for my parents who gave me the liberty to grow in the way I wanted to and supported me in every decision, my husband for being my mirror and help me reflect on my decisions, my health, the people around me who have helped me become the person I am, and most importantly I am grateful to Anvaaya for giving me purpose.