Businesswoman, fashionista and art purveyor Roohi Jaikishan shares how she juggles business and family

Sunday, 8 September 2013 - 9:53am IST | Agency: DNA

There is much more to her than an inherent sense of style. Roohi Jaikishan shares how she juggles business and family responsibilities with effortless élan.

A work-a-holic
As the executive director of RR Oomerbhoy, one of the fastest growing FMCG companies in India, Roohi has taken it to another level with years of hard work. “I consider myself blessed that I am able to actively carry forward my grandfather’s dream delivering quality and responsible food products to the Indian consumer.

I firmly believe that the success of an organisation relies upon the vision and the values of its leadership. As executive director, it is up to me to motivate and support the efforts of my team to achieve our goals as a company and to ensure that organisational standards are never comprised,” she shares.

She finds every day at the office different and exciting even when things don’t go her way, especially since she is responsible for taking decisions that will not only affect her company but also the lives of the consumers she touches. She has also been at the forefront of the RRO Connect.

“Indians now are seeking premium quality brands, they are open to trying different products and are willing to pay a premium to enjoy an experience,” she says. Her firm was the first importer to officially import olive oil in India.

A closet bibliophile
Roohi shares a penchant for American authors. Her current reading list includes James Salter’s All That Is, Tash Aw’s Five Star Billionaires, and Anne Beattie’s New York Stories. “I always tend to oscillate between books and have an extensive lot by my bedside. Reading helps me relax and turn off from the day’s pressures and activities.”

Her entertaining skills are legendary and her soirees are talked about in the toffee-nosed circles. “In all honesty I am stumped to give a brilliant quotable quote on this one. I have no formula for throwing a party or an event. It is a happening that stems from the joy and love of people and bringing them together and the spirit of generosity for all to share,” she adds.

Less is more
She wears her skyscraper Zanotti heels with mom-in-law Pallavi’s couture concoctions and appears in every style list year after year. “My favourite international designer is Frida Giannini; she plays with luxe and contemporary style to create very wearable and collectable classics. My favourite Indian designer is Pallavi Jaikishan not because she is my mother-in-law; her clothes are heirloom quality meant to be handed down for generations. 

Style is inherent it’s more than how we interpret ourselves, I feel at a deeper level everything on the outside is a reflection of what’s on the inside. Although I unashamedly love fashion, it’s just one of the expressions of style.”

Her personal style signifier includes a bold accessory, either a bag or a modern-yet-minimalist piece of jewellery. Her dapper husband Chetan was recently coined Mumbai’s Best Dressed by a leading men’s fashion magazine. One’s keen to know how much he has influenced her style.

“We have our own sartorial sensibilities. Till date I haven’t been able to buy my husband even one piece of clothing as our tastes are so different and I have absolutely no sense of men’s fashion,” says she.

Work le balance
“I have to admit it’s difficult, I have a fantastic support system at home and live in a joint family that helps tremendously. My role model is my father and the women in my family and in my life. They have tenacity and strength. My mother who I lost two years ago, my grandmother and my mother-in-law inspire me.”

Roohi has always been in flawless shape. “There is always room for improvement. I would like to be nonchalant about this one, but the absolute truth is one word discipline. The discipline of healthy eating, habits and exercise. I do cardio three times a week and strength training twice a week. There are no shortcuts,” she avers.

Love for art
As a child she was fortunate enough to be exposed and educated in the arts. She started collecting soon after she got married. “I have Shireen Gandhi of Gallery Chemould to thank for introducing me to the newcomers of the day.

These artists are now the face of Indian contemporary art Atul and Anju Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Dayanita to name a few. Their art has always been a process of social, political and creative change,” she reflects.

A jetsetter
She likes to take the time out to travel when she visits a city, especially for the first time she is on a mission to explore, get lost, and immerse herself. “Every culture has something unique to offer if you are willing to make the effort and let go.

Cities such as Paris, London and Rome are timeless where every meal, exhibition, museum tour or fashion show is an experience in itself. I had never been to Venice and years went by where I wondered if I would ever get a chance to visit,” she shares. Last year, Gucci invited her to attend its annual Women in Cinema Awards Ceremony at 69th Venice Film Festival.

“The festival was a celebration of women, fashion, and film, if you ever need an example of the power of arts, Venice it is. As a patron of the arts I never miss an opportunity to discover galleries and my quest led me to Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni a building, which belonged to Croatian immigrants and now houses an impressive collection of early Renaissance Art,” she shares.

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