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20 June 2007

VM&RD profile

Interview at VM&RD Magazine

VM&RD MAGAZINE, India's bimonthly journal on visual merchandising and store design, has featured me in its current issue. Read the interview below and find out about my inspirations, nightmares, and a cat named Pluto.

A big house, with a big garden and a long dining table is what Paul Ancheta remembers first about his house in Philippines. With seven kids around, Paul was all that a strict lawyer father could ask for. After spending two years in engineering, he realised it was not his cup of tea. “I always knew that architecture is meant for me!” He studied architecture and tried his hands at theatre, choir, interaction management and every other thing under the sun. He moved on to Israel and did visual collection management for the Bahá'í World Centre, his spiritual endeavour. This is where he came to know what India is much more than poverty, high traffic and snake charmers. He landed here in November 2005 and has more reasons now than his Persian cat Pluto to call it home!

First thing you get reminded of when one says, “Let’s go shopping!”
Shops to discover! I check out windows, merchandise displays, store directories, and fixtures—and quite obviously at times, which makes my family and friends turn red.

One thing you won’t leave your house without.
Keys to my flat in Malad. Any place I hang my hat is home, but right now I prefer entering the door to see my cat Pluto.

Best thing about working in India:
Its staggering diversities, ubiquitous colors, and astonishing contrasts.

Your inspirations come from?
The social and spiritual teachings of the Bahá’í Faith.

Your nightmare:
The annihilation of differences that make each one of us so capable and so unique.

Best work by someone else which you really appreciate:
Barbra Streisand’s film adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy”.

If not VM, what would be your profession?
Store designer. And if that fails, a puppeteer! Either way, I get to create dramatic stories!

You are currently reading:
Alain Daniélou’s “A Brief History of India” and Tom DeMarco’s “Slack”.

Favorite holiday destination in India and why?
I’ll tell you when I get two weeks off! When I do have time, I’ll explore the northeast corners of India and celebrate the balance of nature and human accomplishment. Right now, I’m busy being a Mumbai culture vulture.

To you, VM is all about:
The focused mind of a retailer, the trained eye of a consumer, the passionate heart of an artist, and the sprightly gait of a playful child.

Things that make you leave a store in a hurry:
Erroneous signage, rude sales force, and the guard’s insistence that I’m the last customer for the day and they have already closed the shutters!

Favorite one-liner.
“Every minor detail is a major decision!”

16 June 2007

Turning 42

I CELEBRATED my birthday with a visit to the Bahá'í Temple in New Delhi. It was my last day in the city, where I spent the passing week setting up the displays for the newest store of Shopper's Stop. Visiting the temple is always a refreshing joy: not only do I have the spiritual recharge, I get to visit the book shop! I brought two of my fellow workers with me; I hope their first-ever visit to the temple moved them.

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