In town to help her daughter launch her line of garments, Naina Balsaver-Ahmad seems to have her hands full. “I am here to mainly encourage Rifka,” says Naina.
Having been in the jewellery design business for the last eight years, Naina believes it is sheer experience which has helped her gain knowledge in the field.
“Initially, I would worry about my lack of training and karigars taking advantage of this,” she smiles, “but now I can look at stones and judge whether they are good or not. This is especially true about coloured stones,” she reveals.
Her love of jewellery and coloured stones stems from her mother and she believes, “I have single-handedly been responsible in the last couple of years for promoting navratan jewellery in Delhi.”
Trying to revive dying art forms in the jewellery industry, Naina is currently trying to popularise enamel work. Also on the lookout for a flagship store with ‘a difference’ in Delhi, Mumbai is her next preference for retail.
“From Mumbai I am heading to Goa to open a store not just for my jewellery but where I can also stock clothes by different designers,” she adds.
“While jewellery designing is my profession and I make my money from it, politics is a way of life,” says the wife of politician Akbar Ahmad aka ‘Dumpy’.
Having joined active politics as a result of a taunt from her husband, Naina admits that the one month she spent campaigning was tough. “It was not only difficult juggling family and politics but also visiting villages and campaigning in Nainital which is the largest district in Uttar Pradesh.”
Though it was difficult to prove herself as a ‘serious’ politician given her glamorous image, Naina is happy that she won the elections with 1 lakh 30 thousand votes.
“My so-called friends had bet I wouldn’t get more than 10,000 votes!” she smiles candidly.
Pre politics she was also visible on the small screen in advertisements and some television serials. “Acting wasn’t something I pursued. Maybe I wasn’t ambitious when it came to acting,” she admits, “when I thought about movies, I always thought of having to obey certain rules and that wasn’t for me.”
However, recently she has been toying with the idea of being involved in making a film but “would want to do this only after I have gathered some experience.”
As for her first shot into the limelight with the Miss India crown in 1976, Naina laughs it off, “I did it for a lark and probably have earned more recognition as an ex-Miss India than I did when I actually won the crown.”
The first girl from Sydenham College to win the title, she feels she paved the way for other students of the college like Juhi Chawla.