The Gujarati words “bhadhuj saru thase” literally translate to “be positive”. These are Rajesh Sheth’s constant words of encouragement, in his mother tongue, to his daughter Vihari, in her work or her personal undertakings.
“His positivity in life is one of my favourite things about him,” the bubbly Vihari asserts. She shares how her father left India to seek his fortune in New York at the mere age of 18, only to have Russians point guns at him after a deal went bad. “Luckily, he came out of it alive! He didn’t give up after that incident and came out stronger than before. He has always been a go-getter and a risk-taker, and never failed to get back up.”
A mother of two young children herself, Vihari is deeply appreciative of how he has always put his family first. “My father got married when he was 21, and my parents had me when he was 22. He gave up his whole life, making a living for his family.”
Both are in the gem trade — he is the chairman at House of Gems, while Vihari is now growing her eponymous jewellery line, Vihari Jewels. “I always give him all the credit for who I am and what I have achieved. Without him, I would be nothing. It’s his generosity and support that have led me to success. I love my dad unconditionally.” She shares her love and appreciation for her father to family, friends and business partners, and to clients during her jewellery events.
And it’s at such events that Rajesh is constantly impressed at how his daughter has blossomed. “It takes great courage to be in front of a large crowd and present yourself. I do not like to get up in front of crowds whereas she can. She is not afraid to express things in front of strangers.”
He can also take pride that his pet phrase has taken root. “Her optimistic mindset energises everyone around her. When we’re all at dinner with the extended family and friends, she is the one who brightens up the mood. She talks and laughs easily, and engages everyone in conversation,” he says. Asked if he has a Father’s Day wish, Rajesh quips: “I would tell her to have more grandchildren… and that I don’t want her to move to a different continent for any reason.”
Art direction: Audrey Chan
Photography: Joel Low
Hair: Sean Ang