Wonder Women

When You Learn A Little Bit from Everyone & Everything Around You ~ A Woman With Multiple Creative Pursuits Shares Her Story

John Updike said,

“Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.”

In our #MondayMotivation blog focusing on the #WonderWomen segment, we bring to you a woman, whose creative pursuits run into multiple forays, majorly because she cares about these fields. Meet, Krishnapuram V Godha, who is the founder of Shubharaagam School of Music (a musical school in Singapore), the Creative Director & Founder of zAntaSG (a home décor venture based in Singapore) and a Museum Docent. How did she get into such varied yet creative fields and how does she manage time between these professions as well as personal life? Let’s find out in her own words.

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“What got me into my various professions is my exposure to creativity. Over the years, having had a relatively traditional upbringing, I was often exposed to a plethora of culturally rich experiences. From the arts to apparel I was raised to appreciate the rich ethnic heritage that India had to offer, and I always believed that spreading this wealth of knowledge on my roots was something I wanted to do in the most multi-faceted manner possible. My struggle is my keenness to be involved in everything.

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Although several of my operations run like clockwork today, I often feel the need to run things independently. This is something that may have stemmed from the difficulties I faced in ensuring that involved parties were on the same page initially. However, time spent in my frays has allowed me to appreciate the importance of maintaining a good network and subsequently a rapport which I now make full use of in order to keep my businesses running efficiently and effectively.

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The turning point came with my decision to start Shubharaagam School of Music. Having previously taught music in various schools, I started to believe that I was limited in terms of outreach as part of a bigger organization. I had faith in my own ideas, and I wanted the freedom to execute them. This is why I started my first endeavour a little over a decade ago to provide me with the creative freedom that has allowed me to cultivate my own unique brand and identity in the market today.

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It might seem a bit cliché, but my family has always believed in my ability to create awareness especially in the cultural fields. They hence were the ones that pushed me to start my businesses and further create a well-recognized brand steeped in quality while simultaneously providing a unique perspective on what it means to be Indian amidst the bustle of a first world nation.

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My husband Sowmithri was instrumental in ensuring that my passion for music didn’t wilt upon moving to Singapore. He both directed and supported my efforts to get involved in performances both domestically and internationally. My older son Tejas was heavily involved in the logistical planning of SSOM and zAnta having created a social media presence for both of them. Along with this, he drafted the business plan based on which zAnta operates today and continues to oversee multiple back-end operations for the firm. My in-laws too have always been very supportive in the entirety of my journey. From the time I got married, my mother-in-law (Amma) always placed importance on my pursuit of education.

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However, her love for the arts also saw her constantly encouraging me to keep that musical spark alive for which I am eternally grateful. My sincere thanks to her too though she is no more but her blessings would definitely stay.

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My educational or qualification background has little to do with what I do today. I majored in Nutrition and Dietetics at my University. In fact, I was a topper in my subject too. However, my journey to becoming who I am today truly began in Ambattur, a town in Chennai,Tamil Nadu where I was brought up in an almost stereotypical “TamBrahm” fashion involving a focus on both academia and the arts. My mother Smt. Leelavathy was instrumental in initiating my musical journey having served as my first Guru from the tender age of 5. After I got married to my absolute pillar of support in 1995, I moved to Singapore which in my eyes really shaped my career.

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Having joined the Singapore Indian Orchestra and Choir led by Mrs. Lalitha Vaidyanathan shortly after arriving in Singapore, I began to establish myself as an Indian vocalist 25 years ago and fostered relationships then which I still hold close to me today. I had my two sons in ’96 and ’01 respectively with the former having pushed harder than anyone else to establish my businesses. My younger son Surup is a well-established Carnatic violinist in both Singapore and India and has been very supportive in my musical ventures till date. 

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After having taught music in various schools and other learning institutions, I finally decided to establish the Shubharaagam School of Music in 2010. From having just a handful of students in the beginning to 100s of students island wide today, SSOM takes a unique approach towards music instruction by bringing the classes closer to the students by forming different private groups in many locations in Singapore and also  in community centers across the country since I hold the government license in these venues instead of using one physical campus that might prove to be difficult to access for some students. Teaching in community centers also gives immense satisfaction as I am able to communicate well with the society as a whole.  The goal for SSOM in the near future is to continue to follow the present trajectory of organizing quality events through collaborations with other local enterprises in the music industry. The current “Srishti series“ held by SSOM involves bringing the upcoming South-East Asian Talents in the classical Hindustani and Carnatic fray and providing them with a platform to showcase their talents to new set of audience.

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Although it is still in its infancy with 11 concerts under its belt conducted in 2019, we wish to use this concept as an avenue for more budding talents to get the recognition they deserve over the next coming years. My other new creative biz that came into being is mainly due to the passion I carried in me for many many years. In late 2019, zAnta was founded due to my love for fashion and home décor.  In fact so much was my love for the aesthetics towards this venture that a lot of thought has gone into its naming too. The name zAnta is derived from a Sanskrit word which means serene. A retreat for the body and soul, it is a peaceful place where you can escape the exhaustion of everyday life and leave rejuvenated, restored and balanced that completely defines and suits my home decor idea.

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Home décor involves procuring antiques and vintage pieces for the clients apart from the other basics. It also helps clients to do simple to major make overs depending on the requirements keeping in mind the cost factor which is very essential in any home décor projects. zAnta’s business model involves having a different theme in its fashion exclusives. My sister Mrs. Madhu Govindarajan’s expertise in Patachitra art resulted in her being the design brain for the first cycle which followed this artistic theme. With the increasing demand, zAnta felt it’s very important to have a pool of designers with multiple expertise from various fields of design and fashion. This helps to bring in versality in the designs thereby introducing variety and supply in the long run. I wish to create bespoke pieces for my clients with a unique twist involving the commissioning of paintings by Indian artists onto various textile mediums incorporating other art styles along with more abstract, modern techniques moving forward. With zAnta I really wish to establish a recognized brand in the near future while over time increasing the scope of services provided by the firm especially on the home décor front. zAnta seeks to amalgamate home décor and fashion which is a vision I wish to take to new heights in time. More importantly I seek to provide an avenue for native artists in India to get a steady stream of work thereby allowing them to not just showcase their talents but also support themselves and potentially their families as well. Learnings start very young for every human being. We learn from our surroundings, our family friends and through various other mediums. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we would have probably learnt from our dear and near ones especially parents. I very much believe today that my organizational skills and periodic planning has got a lot to do with my dad’s discipline which he had followed in maintaining throughout his life. I have never shared it with him when he was around though. The other personal lesson I have learnt in the last decade is that

 

“Establishing a successful business requires an excellent support system. Team work really does make the dream work. So never hesitate to ask for help when you need it from your family or others whom you trust.”

Also never close your ears to feedbacks especially negative ones. Ignoring them will be end of your business. Customers always have choices. So, it’s very important to get their trust and satisfaction to make them come back to you. Fostering healthy relationships with people who may or may not be in your industry has proven time and again to be a recipe for success as it often allows us to achieve symbiotic harmony. Along with this, focus is another crucial element.

“Being focused on the now, while also having a clear sense of direction really facilitates the sustainable development of a business and is something, I think any entrepreneur should keep in mind if they wish to pursue a project independently.”

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To drop in a message to Godha, check out her amazing artwork and home décor pieces on ZAnta, know more about her musical venture Shubharaagam School of Music, follow the links below:

Godha’s name and work as a music teacher has even appeared in a few newspaper articles and blog posts. You can check these out through links below:

 

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