Ladies tap into hidden talents

Paint-songs on a fabric A housewife with two daughters, Girija Rao slowly began trying her hand at painting on fabric and realised it was an art she adored. “I always pai

Published: 15th February 2012 01:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 05:56 PM   |  A+A-

Paint-songs on a fabric

A housewife with two daughters, Girija Rao slowly began trying her hand at painting on fabric and realised it was an art she adored. “I always painted, but soon realised that I enjoyed painting on fabric the most. I used to teach a few people tailoring at home and one of them saw the dupatta and wanted to buy it. At that point of time I was clueless as to how to price it. So I just doubled how much I spent on the fabric and the paints. I charged `250,” she says smiling. Her customer, however, refused to pay what she considered ‘dead cheap’ for the bargain.

“I was initially shy about the whole thing. Painting was a hobby that had happened to become a profession of sorts. Word spread and people began to come to me asking for customised garments.”

Painting on a variety of fabric mediums, Girija has discovered a love for silk fabric. “I paint on themes of nature, landscape and abstract. My favourite canvas to work on is silk. There’s just something about the way the colour spreads silk..”

Girija has now also branched out into conducting a basics and advanced course for people interested in fabric painting. “I have saved up all the material and now aim at having a book published too!”

Get a glimpse of Girija’s work at

The chocolate aunty

Shalini Gurwara, wife of playback-singer Anuj Gurwara, has been making chocolates for about six years now. What started off as a home-made gifting solution for Christmas parties and the sorts, soon became a hobby that had people knocking on her door with orders. “It began in the my apartment first. Kids knew me as the chocolate aunty because I used to always take chocolates as gifts. If there was a fete around, I would put up a stall. A lot of people began complimenting me and encouraged me to take this up seriously.” An art she learnt from her mother, Shalini soon began mixing flavours, ideas and ingredients. “I began experimenting and made a few mistakes which I tried to fix and they became new recipes. One of them is my Burnt chocolate bits.” Perhaps going in the opposite direction, Shalini has now slowed down of sorts by taking up a public affairs job. “I just supply based on orders and to a store in Jubilee Hills. My job is actually a break from my actual profession of chocolate-making.”

For a whiff of Shalini’s chocolate, visit www.

Olive Arts

Maria George Tharakan isn’t your usual wide-eyed expat. A business analyst at an MNC, she works a regular nine-to-five corporate job. However, her real day starts when she gets back home to her kitchen and her fondant (a kind of icing-like substance used for cake decoration). Starting Olive Arts in 2010, Maria has been experimenting with the baking skills she, like many others, picked up from her mother. “I used to bake cakes as a child, helping my mum out in the kitchen. She taught me a lot about what I do now. I took a break in between when I got married and finally began taking orders again this January, with the help of my husband.”

Olive Arts, besides their wide range of cakes, has its fondant figurines as its USP. Delicately crafted and moulded, the figurines take about six to seven hours of effort. “Since we just started, I just about break-even with what we make. However, the reaction I get from people when they see the cake, makes up for everything else.” Talking about her developed craftiness in making the figurines she says, “What I learnt was basically through a lot of research. And trial and error. I actually began with porcelain clay and made of batch of decorative pieces for a Christmas sale in church. The response I got was very encouraging and branched out into fondant figurines.”

But with a regular job and a hobby that takes a good seven hours out of the rest of her time, things do get very taxing. “There are times where we just live on curd and rice because neither of us has the energy to cook. But it's something we’ve come to love and its worth it when people get that excited with the cake.”

With the increased number of orders, Olive Arts might just go full time. “It will get even more taxing. So who knows. Right now, we’re just expanding and taking it as it comes.” To check out Pebbles and Bam-Bam or a colony of Bees holding up hearts made of sugar, take a tour of their Facebook page, under the name Olive Arts.

India Matters


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