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Yashodhra Singh Rana talks about living her life with an interesting mix of the traditional and the modern
Yashodhra Singh Rana: an interest in cultural revival: Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photographed by Trisha Sarang. Styling by Shweta Navandar. Make-Up by Rebecca Doney, TFM India. Hair by Meghna Butani, Assisted by Reena Creado. Location Courtesy: Bungalow 8, Mumbai
With royal roots in Uttar Pradesh (her mother is Rajkumari Alka Rani Singh of Pratapgarh), and is married into the renowned Rana family of Nepal. Now, having made her home in Noida, Yashodhra Singh Rana is revelling in new-found relationships, designing for her mother’s sari business and her plans to work with embroidery styles from Nepal.
Tiny-tot tales “We have a strong rural background, but since my father (Rananjay Singh) was in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), we always had a bureaucratic and urban connect. I studied in the capital and my friends would always be amused by what they called my ‘hidden’ Rajput life. During my childhood, we would spend all our holidays and festivals in Pratapgarh. I remember having to take special leave from school to be present there. My mother is very traditional. So even in Delhi, the staff and our lifestyle are old-fashioned. My mother continues to live the way my granny used to. I’m married into the aristocratic Rana family of Nepal, and I’m struggling to keep up with their lifestyle — it is so tough to do that today!”
Regal impact “Our backgrounds make us different, and you can tell it from the way we walk, talk or dress. We look into many little details that people often overlook. We don’t have a linear existence. And our sense of identity is strong.”
Old-school discipline “There were several restrictions, even though my parents had the right balance between being traditional and modern.
Holiday memories “I used to be sent to my grandparents because beyond a point my mom could not deal with kids! We used to have maids who would dress
Beyond borders “Marriage really changes your life. You become responsible for another person, another family. And having married into another country, it is like a different world altogether. They are not as fussy about what I wear; but since I do not live in a joint family, adjusting has been much easier. My husband (Arya Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana) is chilled out. My grandmother-in-law is still alive and lives her life in her way. My father-in-law (Nanda Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana), though quite modern, believes that traditions need to be respected.”
Work culture “I used to have my own baking company — Soulful — I love pastries. Earlier, along with helping my mother out — she is into hand-painted saris — I used to cater for a lot of parties. Today, I am largely busy doing stuff for my mother who concentrates on a lot of revival — in terms of fabrics, arts and craft.”
Home and hearth “Like any Rajput home, I have my own silver. I have a comfortable flat on the 23rd floor in Noida. We have done it up in a very modern and minimalistic way.”
Style quotient “I am a jhalli at heart. You will see me in trackpants or some sleeveless top. But otherwise I mostly wear Indian wear in the summers and in winters, pants and boots. I am just five feet, two inches, so for my wedding I purchased a pair of Christian Louboutins.