Rasika Kajaria© HelloIndia

Inside Rasika Kajaria’s Stunning South Delhi Home

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Noor Anand Chawla

While driving up to the home of gallerist Rasika Kajaria, the first thing that catches one’s eye is an installation by artist Shambhavi, where delicately crafted butterflies are visible through large glass windows. Complementing this contemporary aesthetic are Ayesha Singh’s ‘hybrid drawings’ — largescale, outlines of architectural structures — displayed in the garden. Once inside, however, the tone shifts. Pride of place is given to a cleverly painted Persian carpet by American-Persian artist Jason Seife, and an arresting antique brass Mukhalingam (a linga with a face) used in temples to adorn the Shivalinga. This interesting juxtaposition between old-world charm and new-age sensibilities also defines Rasika’s personality.

“I don’t like being put in boxes,” she says, as we sit in her minimalist art-filled living room, catching up over cups of green tea and delectable homemade snacks. “I like to be able to express different sides of my personality. You can see some fabulous senior artists like [FN] Souza and [MF] Husain as well as very young artists working with new-age mediums. I enjoy having these little surprises displayed throughout my home.” The home, whose architecture and interiors have been done by Kohelika Kohli, was indeed a labour of love for Rasika and her husband Chetan Kajaria, the managing director, of Kajaria Ceramics Ltd.

Rasika Kajaria©HelloIndia

Champion Of The Hidden Gems

As the founder of one of India’s leading art Exhibit 320, which is now in its 15th year, Rasika has had a long and passionate love affair with art and galleries. It began when she was a newly married 19-year-old setting up her own home. Months after her marriage to Chetan, she invested in a large Paramjit Singh painting. Her husband was surprised at first but lauded her choice once the work arrived.

What began as a passion for collecting and learning about art soon transformed into her vocation.

“I belong to a family of educationists and studied Economics Honours at St Stephen’s, College, New Delhi. So, I enjoyed studying the subject by visiting prestigious art schools around the country and abroad. Through my travels to international art fairs, I discovered there was a huge difference between what was being produced in India and what was being represented about India abroad. Only about five to seven names would be shown everywhere. So, I decided to start the gallery to promote young fresh talent working with diverse media from India and South Asia. She included the entire geographic region in her sway because she felt that it shared the same aesthetics and stories. The gallery has also made its presence felt abroad through participation in various international art and design fairs. Three years ago, she diversified further by co-founding the Inherited Arts Forum, a space exclusively dedicated to showcasing the work of folk and tribal artists from around the country. Aware that these rich and diverse forms of art never receive the attention they deserve in their own country, own country, she sought to provide a platform akin to the one she had so painstakingly created for young contemporary artists. One would imagine Rasika’s entrepreneurial ventures would take up all her time, yet she is also a keen philanthropist who gives back to the community. A current board member of global leadership community Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) New Delhi and member of the governing body of FLO (FICCI Ladies Organization) in New Delhi, she has also served on the board of YFLO (Young FLO) New Delhi, where she worked on skill development for rural women.

Rasika Kajaria©HelloIndia

The Consummate Hostess

Catering to numerous professional and social commitments, Rasika is also an exemplary hostess. As she gives us a tour of her beautiful home, one is charmed by the impeccably laid-out dining table decorated with tasteful bric-a-brac and dining paraphernalia, set in advance for a ladies’ lunch scheduled for the next day.

“I like being prepared and I thoroughly enjoy setting and plating the table creatively!” she smiles. This proclivity for beautification and design is evident in every aspect of her personality.

She thrives on expanding her knowledge and love evident in every aspect of her personality. When asked about her favourite holiday destinations, she names various safaris in Africa for the fun family bonding time they ensured, and a recent Tuscan vineyard holiday which focused on delicious food, excellent wine and lots of art and culture.

Rasika Kajaria©HelloIndia

“My husband and I love to travel to new places. We’ll be exploring Iceland this summer. On our travels, I love to collect art and soak in the local culture — it’s the best way to learn about a new place,”.she declares.

A self-confessed foodie and coffee addict, Rasika also thoroughly enjoys being creative with fashion. Whether it’s an elegant Elie Saab gown or an eye-catching dress from indie designer Twinkle Hanspal, she will carry them off with equal elan.

After a long day’s grind, however, her favourite thing to do is to retire with her husband and two grown-up sons, Raghav and Kartik, to her beautiful home, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the most relaxing and peaceful feeling. We might play a board game or lounge in our well-stocked library, comfortably ensconced in our haven of art and love,” she smiles.

Photos: Anil Chawla; Creative Direction and Styling; Amber Tikari; Hair and Make-Up: Akriti Raj Chitkara

This story has been adapted for the website form HELLO! India’s May 2024 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!