It came as a surprise instruction from my Master one day, when He walked up to me and said, “Whatever you do from here (India), make Bharat proud.”...
I was struck with His use of the word, “Bharat”. Though “Bharat” is used interchangeably with “India”, it represents much more. Bharat is a philosophy of life which has made our civilisation last and flourish for over 30000 years. Bharat is about the Vedic Indian life where there is a positive impact at every touchpoint.
From that instruction came an inspiration, and from that inspiration was born Aranyani. Aranyani is Bharat’s (India’s) goddess of the forest.
Though considered as the luxury leather brand from India, for me, Aranyani is more than just a brand. It is a philosophy and a way of life - to Live in the Exquisite. This ‘Living in the Exquisite’ is best described by three phrases which are the foundation pillars of Aranyani design.
Inspired by Nature
We are just one among the several beings that exist in nature. Though we consider ourselves as sitting at the top of the food chain, we are powerless puppets in the face of nature’s onslaughts - be it a tsunami or a forest fire. But Nature, despite possessing all power, is very tolerant and nurturing. It gives the opportunity for all to live in harmony amidst the apparent chaos that surrounds us. There is also a certain timelessness when we see anything in Nature. As Keats said, “ A thing of beauty is joy forever”. We can see the same rose or the sunrise everyday and yet it gives us joy each time.
The Veda has always propagated the concept of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ which means that all residents of the Universe are members of the same family. It then goes on to say, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means that any guest - every being that comes to our doorstep - is God. My Master amplifies this concept by saying,
“There is only one religion, the religion of Love.
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity.”
If we can live every day of our life in this manner, we will be a world of abundant Love and Joy. We will respect the environment along with all the living beings.
Aranyani is the confluence of ‘being inspired by nature’, just as the holy river Ganges is the confluence of the rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi.
Crafted by Tradition
Having been a participant in the mass manufacturing sector for over two decades, I have seen a lot of wastage. Whilst I agree that mass manufacturing provides jobs to many millions of people, I do not agree to wasteful purchase and over-expansion for the purpose of high valuations. Valuation in business has become more important than profitability and sustainability and, in chasing infinite growth, firms indulge in a lot of wastage. I truly advocate for high quality, high precision manufacturing with no waste, providing for demand rather than merely for enterprise valuation. Traditional practices have always allowed business communities to grow as a united family. They have brought forth creativity and allowed true designing based on creating beautiful pieces rather than mere imitation and replication in pursuit of fast fashion. While mass manufacturing creates labourers, traditional crafts create artisans.
Aranyani’s atelier has artisans who excel in the traditional Indian handicraft techniques like embroidery, gold gilding and semi-precious stone-dropping on the exquisite leather handbags.
All these three pillars aim to synergise and converge into just one direction of life - to live in the Exquisite; to live like Aranyani, the Goddess of the Forest who is the true definition of Luxury.