The tree of life symbol is one that fascinates me to no end. It indicates that all the life on earth is linked in some way or the other. This motif appears as a part of varied cultures and mythologies, be it Chinese, Turkish, Egyptian or Indian. However, the tree of life symbol that appears prominently in the Taj Mahal is my favourite. It is a sample of exquisite craftsmanship. The foliage has been engraved in a style that is typical of Mughal architecture. The delicate jali kaam and the inlay work on the marble is intricate and truly inspiring. I still remember how one of my creations drew from this motif. The American who bought it for his wife got in touch with me days later saying, “My wife loves the bag. She feels like she’s carrying a piece of the Taj Mahal with her!”
The other motif that has impacted me is that of the mandala — again a universal symbol that exists across cultures — containing spiritual value. It denotes the higher goal in life and the fact that all humans beings are connected. The navagrahas or the nine planets are all about the flow of energy and the various aspects of the universe. Each planet denotes something in our life. I am not one to believe in astrology but I do advocate the science of astronomy and am intrigued by the astronomical value of the navagrahas.
One of my creations is inspired by this concept — a brass metal bag encrusted with semi-precious stones signifying the nine planets, and the shape of the bag being inspired by a Buddhist prayer vessel.