Birad Rajaram Yajnik lays out his plan for putting Indian culture on coffee tables across the world
Step into any bookshop and look for coffee table books. Chances are you might find good ones on India, well-produced, with superb visual appeal and a conciseness perfect for the frenetic lives we lead. Thanks to Birad Rajaram Yajnik from Hyderabad!
For Birad, life has been a visual quest that has taken different forms and meaning.
“I have always been a visual person. Even my company, VisualQuest, started nine years ago, is a happy marriage of technology and design. After I discovered that we have the resources, I thought why not. All we needed to do for a 200-page showcase of India was get 250 photographs and 20,000 words to represent India in its best form,” says Birad.
Beyond the visual sensibility, Birad describes himself as a food adventurer who doesn’t mind tasting alligator tail with horseradish or mussels or sushi. “I see food as a great cultural connect. Food takes a relationship to a different level. It makes you culturally more acceptable,” he says. “I had this marinated lamb with betel leaves, and I thought why not a book on Indian fusion food abroad? I am working on it with some chefs from Manhattan,” says Birad, who isplanning an encyclopaedia of 12 books on Indian culture.
For most people, food is what draws people to a restaurant. Birad is different. “Right from the signage, to the décor, to the way the food is presented, everything is important,” he says.
“The central pivot of my book on yoga is a question I had: ‘What makes yoga so successful?’ The book is a piecing together of that answer. Fifty thousand people do yoga at 5 a.m. in the morning in Hong Kong thanks to the rockstar of yoga — Kamal. I have met the most incredible people do yoga — a woman from Singapore who eats only raw food and credits her energy to yoga and food; one in Finland who lives on an island for three years and practises yoga.”
Even in airports, Birad lets his eyes soak in the world. “Airports are meccas of visual appeal. Spend some time in Istanbul airport or JFK and you can take in the food, people, culture, clothes and character of people across the world. All you need to do is keep your eyes open,” he says.
“We want to take the Indian experience to the world. We are working on reaching South America — Brazil and Argentina happen to be huge, huge markets,” he adds.
Food takes a relationship to a different level. It makes you culturally more acceptableSERISH NANISETTI