She studied and excelled in Pyschology, yet never drifted away from her other interest areas. She was hugely inclined towards the aesthetics, and loved to bake, decorate interiors, and more. We are talking about Dr. Pallavi B. Gillani.
This multitalented lady is now concentrating on interior designing. One of her esteem clients has been Four Points by Sheraton in Srinagar. There is more to Dr. Pallavi, uncover it through this interaction.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Tezpur and raised in Guwahati, in a family of five. I am the second of the three sisters.
I always had an inclination towards the aesthetics and grew up with, a passion for art, décor, baking and an avid interest for counselling the friends & family. I turned my passion into a career after completing PhD in Relationships (Social Psychology), while I was working as a part-time lecturer at the Guwahati University, in the department of Psychology.
My career path took me to Delhi, where I began working in AIMA, while I completed a post graduate course in the Human Resource Development there. I started working in National Institute of Sales as a Consultant. There, I designed management courses for the training of top management, and the middle management of the MNCs. Along the way, came many freelancing opportunities. All of them kept me busy, but all the while, they also gave me immense exposure to differing mental states and issues of the people, which was evolving with the advent of technology like the internet and cell phones. It helped me in understanding the psychology even better.
Yours was an an inter-religion marriage. How did you convince the families? Share your story.
I met Javaid, an IPS Officer from the J&K Cadre while in Delhi, and our friendship evolved into a marriage.
Ours was an inter-religion marriage. Needless to say, initially, there were some apprehensions between both the families that was overcome with reasoning & constructive discussions with the family members.
Given societal pressures, it was important for us (as a couple) to have a strong support system, and that the families stood by us. It was actually a crucial factor in establishing a strong & long-term bonds within the family.
Marriage took me to Srinagar, where my husband was posted. The situation necessitated a short break in my career. So, I was on sabbatical. While I was in Srinagar, I pursued my other interests by working on small interior decoration projects and painting.
You have worked for RelationshipForever.com. Tell us briefly about your experience there.
After a short stint in Kashmir, I moved back to Delhi along with Javaid and began a stint with an online portal namely, www.relationshipsforever.com.
I joined them as the Chief Psychologist. My clients were in the age group of 18-45 years. There were mostly people with depression, and those with study and work stress. Apart from a very big clientele in India, I had handled clients from UK, Australia, and the USA.
What catalyzed the interior designer in you? How long have you been doing this?
I had shown interest in the interior designing during my college days itself. Initially, it started as a hobby. I began with decorating my home in Guwahati and quite soon it became a passion. Over the last 10 years, I have handled a number of projects of varied types - homes, bars and restaurants (resto-bars), hotels, roof top garden designing to mention a few.
Share with us about some special projects of designing that you have done.
The most recent project I have handled is a 52 room international hotel called Four Points by Sheraton, in Srinagar. It is a Starwood/ Marriott Group of Hotels. And, I also have a couple of more big hotel projects in my hand.
I have also started designing furniture in Srinagar.
And, it is very specific to the region (owing to its regional look) like Tulip-shaped High Chairs, Chinar shaped High Chairs, Geometrical shaped book shelves, paper meche furniture and wall pieces on copper.
Have you ever tried eco-friendly or sustainable options for interior designing?
I have a knack of re-purposing old wood to make furniture. This is in a way sustainable in itself.
What genre of furniture designs you admire?
I have an inclination towards Victorian and Antique art for it being so regal. I admire it a lot for its majestic essence.
To what extent Assam or the Northeast India influences your creativity?
Definitely, Assam plays an important role in my career. This place has influenced me to a greater extent.
I have designed the interiors of an Assamese cuisine restaurant in New Delhi.
The use of bamboo, cane, bell metal, etc. can be seen in its interiors.
• Your Favourite book: In other words by Jhumpa Lahiri
• Your Favourite hobby: gardening
• Your Favourite place: Kerala
• 3 things of Assam, or Northeast you miss in Srinagar: I miss kopou phul, Bihu and the most warm people of Assam.
• Your career goal 5 years down the lane: Five years down the line would like to see myself doing my own upholstery line for my clients.
From Clinical Psychology to Interior & Furniture Designing, you have experienced great transitions in your interests and career. How have you been able to strike a balance, throughout?
There is a creative side in all of us, which we pursue besides our profession. It hasn’t been difficult for me to pursue a portfolio career working on my varied areas of interest. Currently, I am concentrating only on furniture and interior designing so that I can have sufficient time for my home and family.
Do you support any social cause?
Yes, I also dedicate some of my time for social work.
My major focus is on drug de-addiction, health and education for homeless children.
Any message for the women, who have become a part of the silent struggle and not able to come out of it?
I urge women to believe in themselves. Do your best to realize your dreams as there is no limit to what we as women can accomplish. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Be realistic and be prepared for any outcome, while giving your best, at every step towards your goal.