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Where doodles come alive

Just eight days into her brand new venture, 27 year-old product designer Tarana Sheth seems strangely relaxed. She has just returned from a hunting expedition through Bhulwada lane, a marketing trip that, we deduce, has either been extremely therapeutic or just plain exhausting. We’re inclined to guess it’s the former, as Sheth animatedly tells us how she routinely scans markets for interesting finds. In fact, the sparkling white door she’s leaning against was rescued from Chor Bazaar and revived with a coat of paint, we learn, as Sheth played decorator cum carpenter cum painter over the months it took her to painstakingly put this quaint little place together, nail by nail.


Tarana Sheth bought this white door from Crawford Market and painted it afresh

But she has enjoyed every moment — “I’ve always wanted to do this,” says the ad-filmmaker who graduated from Franklin and Marshall College (Pennsylvania) with a double major in business marketing and film studies, as she leafs through a plump wad of sketches and scribbles, a graveyard of ideas. A stainless steel bird-pencil holder conceptualised here did make it to the prototype stage however, and Sheth doesn’t mind stealing it out of its hiding place to show it to us. A hole in the stomach was meant to contain erasers while the pencils would have formed the tail, she explains. So why is the punctured pigeon doomed to live a solitary existence on an unseen shelf for the rest of eternity? After all, aren’t sculptures with holes actually pretty popular with modern artists? “Nah,” she says, waving the idea away as she replaces the gleaming bird, “It’s too big, takes up too much space. I wouldn’t keep it on my desk.”

If that’s the criterion, what would Sheth furnish her home with? The answer must be conversation pieces, because almost everything we see here would qualify as one. Consider the Rorschach-test coasters for instance (available in two sizes, Rs 450 and Rs 550 per piece). What your guest describes as a red bat or Siamese goblins before the first round of drinks may well begin to bear a close resemblance to a scene from Dexter or a grouchy neighbour by the end of the party, and depending on what you’re serving, the transformations in between may well be worth recording. If you have a better idea, Sheth is happy to breathe life into this too. Everything she creates is 100 per cent customisable. Offering an example, she shows us a round glass clock with a seven-inch diameter that’s etched with what first appears to be an ornate grey baroque pattern. But Sheth points out, “There’s a two and a five in the design and we’ve got a heart chakra and a lotus leaf that symbolise beauty and harmony.”

Other eye-catching pieces include pop-printed coasters and cushions that have a joint-smoking grandmother smirking over the tagline, “Who’s your Daddi?!!!,” shadow-casting tea-light holders (Rs 2,900 for a foot high mild steel one with a tree of life motif), PVC-pipes turned bright-coloured vases (Rs 1,230), metal tiffins with variously coloured sections (Rs 700 to Rs 2,080) — some of which are Alice’s Wonderland-sized pill boxes, others, actual lunch boxes, and still other larger versions, quirky doorstep containers in which you can keep canes, flowers or umbrellas — oversized sunglasses that serve as photo-frames, painted-pail candles (Rs 500 to Rs 620), melting metal clocks reminiscent of Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory and the symbol the artist once described as a, “camembert of time,” and napkin holders that make you wonder if this is why astronauts aren’t allowed to carry paint on rocket ships.

Step in here and it’s like you’ve walked off Grant Road and right into a dreamscape.

Log on to: www.taranadesigns.com for details.
Email: tarana.sheth@gmail.com
At: A/9 Ganesh Prasad, ground floor, Sleater Road, Grant Road (W) 

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