Five youngsters with dreams in their eyes set out of their comfort zone in the quest of knowledge. They returned to start enterprises with a difference in their home town

Meet the baker

Vishak Chandrasekaran, 27

As a teen, Vishak Chandrasekaran loved pottering about the kitchen. His friends dropped in, assured he would whip up something delectable. Most importantly, no one at home looked down upon a boy cooking. After a degree in hotel management at IHM Bangalore, Vishak worked in a couple of places, across departments, before he realised his heart lay in the kitchen. And so, it was destination Cordon Bleu, London. In 2013, a year after returning from London, Vishak started V’s Café, in Saibaba Colony. “I’m so glad I got back when I did. The satisfaction of running V’s has made it all worthwhile,” he says. Even now, Vishak heads to the kitchen to create macaroons or chocolates. “People love our food. What more can I ask for?”

Contact them at 0422-4322206

Dancing for change

Karuna Sagari V., 25

When Karuna, a student of Kalakshetra, set up her dance school, Bhakti Natya Niketan, she ensured that the institution carried forward the values she had imbibed from her alma mater. “For instance, my friends at Kalakshetra were Mongolians, Kazhakistanis and South Africans. I learnt that art should be accessible to all. We try to champion this value at Vidya Vanam where we teach Bharatanatyam to tribal children.” In Kalakshetra, life, society and art were connected, says Karuna. “I derive inspiration from Rukmini Devi Arundale, who founded Kalakshetra. We collaborate with institutions such as Shanti Ashram to hold programmes for poverty alleviation,” she says. BNN’s next programme is a special performance for auto drivers of the city.

Weaving magic

Soorya Krishna, 27

Soorya grew up in a family full of girls who loved dressing up. She was still in college when her mother Gowri started Aavaranaa in Race Course. She plunged headlong into work with her sister Vijayalakshmi, an engineer. She shopped for fabric, suggested design elements. Soon, Soorya joined NIFT in Chennai.

The sisters started a branch in the State Capital. “Initially, the NIFT tag was a drawing point; but competition has ensured we have to step up our act all the time,” says Soorya. Soorya says she’s happiest designing, translating a wispy thought into silken reality.

Contact them at 92444-03113. Or, shop online at

Garden in a jar

Samyuktha Kalingarayar, 37

As a child, Samyuktha was fond of reading and gardening. An encyclopaedia on plants was her favourite book. She would copy the patterns on paper. Years later, she used that designing ability to create carefully-chosen collections of fabrics and saris for sale.

The encyclopaedia contained a word, terrarium. What was just another word turned into a passion after Samyuktha attended a course by terrarium expert Anusha Babbar in Coimbatore. “I was thrilled to do something that piqued my interest as a child,” she says. Soon, she set up Landscape N Jar, which sells her designer terrariums. “It was all about experimenting and reading,” she says. Now, Samyuktha creates terrariums in anything from tiny fish tanks to huge glass jars. “I try to recreate the natural look, be it drooping boughs or water bodies,” she says.

Call her at 97877-26032 or mail

Prints of life

Jaya Narayanan, 36

Textiles have always fascinated Jaya. She wanted to study them in depth, but did not get an opportunity. But, she always leaned towards fabric, attending short-term courses in painting, embroidery and stitching. After marriage, she set about pursuing her lifelong passion. She heard about block prints and was keen on knowing more. She set out to Kolkata, where she learnt the technology in a block printing unit. She came back with a teacher, who stayed behind for two months to fine-tune his pupil’s craft. “Block printing is all about practice. Only that perfects your craft,” she says. Jaya started Tunes in 2008. The block printing unit in R.S. Puram does job works and also supplies to boutiques in and around Coimbatore. It also undertakes individual orders.

“Block printing is a very satisfying job. In half an hour’s time, a regular fabric is transformed into a work of art,” says Jaya. “Most of all, I get to work with textiles all the time. My quest is complete.”

Call them at 94879-20394.