Though she enrolled for BA in Psychology at Hindu College, Delhi University, after her schooling at the Carmel Convent School in the capital, Ashtar Tashi’s father, a pioneer garment exporter who knew of her desire to run his business, suggested she study fashion design at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) instead.
Ashtar’s experience at her father’s business — where she had to work her way up from being a spot cleaner to folding and packing clothes and then learning thread cutting – helped her score a seat, and she graduated in 1990 with the likes of Narendra Kumar Ahmed, Sonam Dubal and Ritu Beri.
But she was never one for the rat-race. She worked freelance for design houses while assisting her father. “I was happiest working in my own time without pressures of proving something to the world,” she recalls.
When she was 21, she met her life partner Vishal at a wedding, and moved from Delhi to Pune post marriage. She made her name as a fashion designer while also writing fashion features and styling shoots for publications.
Then, the upcoming School of Fashion Technology, a collaborative effort with NIFT, invited her on board as visiting faculty. She taught creative thinking and trends for 15 years – till she found her true calling.
Ashtar was extremely content with life, blessed with a daughter after a son, and all the creature comforts she could ask for. But when her daughter was two – even in a perfect world – she felt trapped and experienced a vacuum. “My moods went from severe highs to lows,” she recalls. Her husband suggested she go for meditation to calm her mind.
Seeking help, Ashtar then met a lady who facilitated crystal-healing sessions in Pune and also taught meditation. “I started going into very deep trances and received visions,” she says. Initially, she stopped meditation, worried that her mental state was affected. “But I realized slowly that I was being pulled into another dimension far greater than what we understood as this universe.” Many transcendental experiences followed that validated for Ashtar the existence of a higher power in life and how she would become a channel to carry the energies forward to serve humanity.
Mystically, Ashtar was drawn to a box of ‘Goddess Oracle Cards’ in a bookstore, and began exploring tarot. She also did courses in crystal healing and chakra work, and now teaches the same herself.
Her heartfelt compassion and genuine empathy draw people in. “I am but a vessel through which the divine chooses to flow and pour from. I cannot heal anyone, the divine does that,” says Ashtar, who loves to travel by herself and meet new people.
Ashtar’s new book, Keep Shining! Find Your Happiness Quotient, focuses on issues like self-love, fear, drawing boundaries and procrastination. She advises, “Don’t do, feel or say anything that doesn’t create joy within you – whether it’s a relationship, a job, a hobby or a life-altering decision. If doesn’t give you joy, just drop it. We are all spiritual beings having a human experience. Let’s make it a joyful one!”