SOM Special Interview with Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar is an epitome of beauty and grace. Royalty sits perfectly on her head, her elegance and demeanour is so dignified that she is loved and respected by one and all. In spite of her multi-faceted personality and royal lineages, she has preferred to keep her private life away from too much media glare.
Besides being the royal face of Mysuru, she actively takes part in several social activities. She is a wildlife enthusiast, a doting mother, great baker, a successful entrepreneur and founder of the venture called ‘The little bunting’ — an online boutique for Indian-made children’s eco-friendly products.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Star of Mysore, in a never-before interview, gets a glimpse of her life, her views and her varied interests and pursuits. Born into a royal family in Dungarpur district of Rajasthan, she married the titular head of Mysore royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar on June 27, 2016.
By Shadan Muneer
Star of Mysore (SOM): Curious to know about your growing up years, your interests and hobbies.
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: I had a very enjoyable childhood, thanks to my mother, family and friends. I was extremely studious but also played a lot of sports especially basketball and tennis, representing my school and college teams. I also enjoyed dancing and I have been trained for many years in both contemporary and jazz forms. In my free time, I enjoy baking and cooking. Looking back, I am satisfied that my formative years were a good balance of both studies and play.
SOM: Is it challenging for you to be in the continuous spotlight?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: Having grown up in an erstwhile princely house, we were expected to learn balance between a public personage and private life. However, Mysuru has an incredible heritage and expectations are high. Therefore it is definitely challenging but the love and admiration that our society has for the family gives tremendous energy to continue to work hard to uphold this tradition.
SOM: Give us a sneak peek into the life of a royal. What does a normal day look like for you?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: My regular day is normal. I wake up very early, finish my yoga and the rest of the morning is spent getting my son ready for school. Once he is at school, I get some time to oversee my ventures and ensure that they are all on track. I also take care of any meetings and correspondence I might have. My son comes back around midday and the afternoons are spent with him and his homework and further pursuits. Evenings are also busy with more meetings and if I am free I tend to do some baking which is a stress-buster for me. Whenever possible I enjoy the evenings with my husband driving down to one of the forests for a safari.
SOM: Your experience of being part of Dasara celebrations.
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: Dasara is the pride of Mysuru and the rituals observed in the Palace are of tremendous importance. They have been passed on in the family for over 400 years and have been continued from the Grand Karnata (Vijayanagara) empire. I consider it an honour to worship and observe all the rituals under the guidance of my mother-in-law Pramoda Devi Wadiyar. She has been conducting the festivals for nearly half a century and is well-versed with every detail, with her guidance, support and blessings, I am sure me and my husband will be able to continue the rituals and pass it on.
SOM: Which is your favourite section in the Palace?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: Definitely the main Durbar Hall or ‘sajje’. It comes alive during festivities. I also think the temples such as Swetha Varaha Swamy and Prasanna Krishnaswamy are fantastic examples of Wadiyar temple architecture especially with the Mysore style paintings inside them.
SOM: You have been involved in so many social activities. What do you love the most about Mysuru and Mysureans?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: There is nothing not to love in Mysuru, the people, the society, the food, the aesthetics of the city, Chamundi Betta, the fact that we are so close to so many forests, our history and heritage, all makes for the perfect environment to lead a fulfilling life.
SOM: You keep yourself away from the public but you are involved in so many of your own projects. Please tell us more about ‘The little bunting’.
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: Between being a mother, an entrepreneur and the many festivities at the Palace, I tend to keep quite busy. Taking care of my son and family has always been my first priority, my experience as a mother led me to my entrepreneurial pursuits. I created ‘The little bunting’ as an online boutique for Indian-made eco-friendly children’s products. I realised the existing market for children’s products was mass produced with the usage of so many toxic materials and therefore there was a need for some change. It’s been a good venture that has taught me a lot about our local handicrafts and textiles, especially our toy-making heritage in Channapatna. Alongside this, I have also gained a lot of knowledge on e-commerce and entrepreneurship in general.
SOM: Your association with Channapatna toys is helping them sustain amidst the growing competition from cheap plastic imported toys.
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: It is always important that we promote and consume our own handicrafts. The toy-making heritage of Channapatna is world famous and yet lack of hands-on attention is causing the handicrafts to stagnate. It is important that we revive this and preserve it not only because it is Karnataka’s pride but also because toys are organically made, environment-friendly and the industry provides employment to many.
SOM: You have also been involved in COVID relief work. What measures would you propose to the women who have lost their earning members of the family?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: My involvement in COVID relief was facilitated by many other social service groups all of whom deserve applause. Personally we cooked meals for those impacted, which was a small contribution to what were very trying times for many of us.
It is easy to give advice when we aren’t facing the same problem or in the same social strata, but I will always stress the same to everyone going through a tough time — determination and drive will get you through the toughest times. Women who have lost earning members of their families should be given extra support from our society so that they may take up some entrepreneurial pursuit to accommodate their needs and requirements.
SOM: What according to you is the true meaning of women empowerment?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: When women can live with dignity and freedom they are empowered. We need to understand that no society is perfect. While Indus civilisational values have always honoured woman and womanhood, there are many aspects of our society that have categorised women into certain roles. I think women should be free to decide their destiny to be truly empowered. Women should also not forget that being a housewife is as honourable as being a CEO.
SOM: You pursue varied interests like wildlife, photography and baking. How do you balance all these with a little kid?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: My son has always been my top priority. Everything else takes a backseat. Once his needs are taken care of, I can focus on my own aspirations and hobbies. I always try to make the most of my day.
SOM: Your social media followers have been drooling over your baking skills and requesting you to start making it on a large scale. Any plans for this?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: I hope to take it up, baking is definitely a passion of mine and I would get tremendous joy from more people enjoying it and sharing it with their families.
SOM: What message would you want to share with the Mysureans on Women’s Day, this year being the year of gender equality?
Trishikha Kumari Wadiyar: I personally think that in order to bring equality in our society — not just in terms of gender but also caste, colour and other discriminations — we need to start with our own. Both men and women have a role of paramount importance towards raising a responsible next generation and teaching our new generation the best social practices and equality in rights.