Anjali writes about Bharati

bharati-mOne cannot write about Bharati Malani without delving deep into the inner recesses of the heart and the soul. For my pen to do her justice, I must first inherently understand what she brings to the table. What is her USP?….. her skillset? Bharati is an artist who has an amazing palette and her sure and swift brush strokes paint a vivid canvas with courage, compassion and a deep sense of mission. Her  love for her work and her clients  determines her work ethic.

It all started very long ago. She was and always has been an avid swimmer. She has been swimming since she was a baby and is happiest when in water. By the time she was 19, extended hours in the sun and chlorine had played havoc with her skin and hair. She relentlessly looked for moisturising products. Nothing she found was good enough. So she began experimenting with oils, fresh fruit pulp, dairy products, powdered grains and grated vegetables. She kept her vials and jars in her bathroom cupboard and mixed different blends every day. Her skin began to glow again and her hair regained it’s former lustre.

Life was changing. She got into a leading institution for design and left her hometown of Pune for Ahmedabad.  She felt reborn when she joined NID. Here she finally found avenues for her varied creative energies. Two years into the programme her family migrated to the US taking her with them. She studied graphic design at Concordia University in
Montreal for a year but aspired for better. A transfer to the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, gave her what she dreamed of, two years of pure, blissful, aesthetic expression. Additionally, she discovered aromatherapy oils and began blending them with base carrier oils, analysing different synergies where fragrance mattered as much as therapeutic benefits.

Her term at RISD ended and she entered the real world. She lived and worked in Texas, New York, Florida and California as a graphic designer and a children’s book illustrator. She handled work for publishers, museums and toy companies. For a year or so she delved into her passion for music and manned a radio music station for New York (WRPI) on Sundays, playing world music At around this time Bharati stumbled upon butters- cocoa and shea. During a trip to India she found her mother applying kokum butter on her elbows. She began adding butters to her oils. These experiments gave birth to her range of products.

In 1999 she returned to India. She worked on a couple of projects for a friend, an exhibition designer in Delhi. She started her own durrie business where she designed them and had a tiny production unit near Kanpur. The durries were marketed in the US and a limited chain of stores in Europe. When she returned to India she tried to continue this business in the Indian market but it was not to be.

Destiny had it’s own ideas . She’s worked as an apparel designer. She designed jewellery and still does (mainly for personal wear). She worked with wood furniture. She designed her house in Mundhwa.

Incidentally, she makes melt-in the-mouth chocolate, a skill that she has taught her maids. They now run this small industry from her home. All proceeds go towards their annual LIC policies.

Her bold brush travelled a varied canvas and slowly but surely a beautiful butterfly was emerging from the cocoon. Paths were firming up and her creativities were being honed towards skin and hair care. Nothing brings her more joy than working with her palette of oils, butters and essential oils. This includes consulting, doing research, mixing new products and what she loves most of all…finding cures. Bharati works on ailments with the help of aromatic oils and other natural ingredients. Joint pain, psoriasis, head ache, migraine, cold sores and dry eyes amongst other complaints, have all been cured at her clinic in Mundhwa.

Mrs. Sarla Malani, Bharati’s mother is a woman of substance. 85 plus and still going strong she has a firm belief in natural products and an amazingly unstoppable energy that characterises everything she does. A perfectionist to the core, her days and nights merge as she loves to work. Inheriting this strong work ethic from her mother, Bharati too loves her work and keeps going on into the wee hours till a perfect cream is formulated. Her stress busters are her 2 buddies Chikoo and Peach, the two Shih Tzus who scamper around her bungalow leaving heart prints wherever they go.

Friends ask her…why did you give up design? To which her answer is emphatic. “It has brought me here. Now my creativity does not hinge on limited dimensions. It is limitless. I have a plethora of ingredients but have to assess each individually and then together as a synergy. Heat, moisture, cold have to be accommodated for. I fight against weather conditions. Everything affects my products as I mainly use ingredients that you eat. There is no conformity to my raw materials. For example: month 1 kokum butter is dark brown, full of moisture. So I clarify it, trying to get the water out without destroying its curative powers. I keep going with this harvest till month 3, now fortunately moisture levels are less so the process is less stressful. 3 months later the harvest is chalky white and FABULOUS, tiny water content and delightful to use. Please tell me which type face (speaking as a graphic designer) changes with the seasons?

I find my work has infinite dimensions. It encompasses healing too which brings me so much peace. This healing breathes life into me and gives meaning to my work. It humbles me, and my quest is…endless…”

Need I write more. Her heartfelt words say it all.

Anjali Bhavanani