Savia Shah // Haati Chai Muse

 Haati Chai Muse: Savia Shah of Third Edit


How do you embrace your roots?
I am still learning to embrace them. I do a lot of exploring and researching. I pay attention to family history, take an interest in the art and politics of South Asia, travel often, and stay in touch with the diaspora communities. This is a huge intentional effort on my part, and I feel it continuously empowers me. 

Share a fond memory of your family history: 
My mother grew up in a house in the mountains of Northern Pakistan. She reminiscences that when it would rain, the pears, apples, and apricots from the orchards would roll down the hills and hit the side of their house and the front door. This memory of hers always makes me smile and yearn for nature.


What are heirlooms that were passed down to you and the story behind them? 
I have a simple white cotton shawl that belonged to my grandmother. It’s special because I’ve always seen her and my mother wear similar shawls in family photos. I also have a hand-embroidered pillowcase that my grandmother made for her own jahez (marriage gifts). My grandparents were so loving to each other, so having something that reminds me of them is dear to me.


What's one of your favorite quotes? I would love for you to share something from your native tongue. 
I adore the quote ‘Contentment is a treasure that will never finish’ from Prophet Muhammad. It uplifts me during moments of grief and gives me my optimistic outlook on life.


How have you been able to make sure you don't lose your own cultural identity:
I feel I don’t have a choice in the matter. I am continuously asked where I am from, or where my parents are from. Regardless of whether or not I feel attached to my cultural identity or not, trying to explain myself has forced me to focus on values that are most meaningful to me. 


What career path did you choose and how has your heritage inspired what you are doing today?
I studied French literature and Religious Studies. I always intended to become a professor but after doing my masters, I realized it wasn’t for me. I wanted to share my interests in art, culture and women in an accessible way and Third Edit was a result of that exploration. As I developed and shared my ideas with people, heritage intuitively became the focal point of those early conversations, because culture for me has always been a way of bringing people together. 


Tell us about a piece of  jewelry that was passed down to you, and the story behind it.
My mother’s wedding necklace was passed down to me. It’s the only piece of jewellery she saved. It’s simple and has an innocence that I feel represents my mother’s personality.

What does jewelry mean to you?
It means love and memories. All my jewellery is a reminder of a loved one or a memory. 


How does your family value gold, particularly gold  jewelry?
My family is down to earth when it comes to gold. My mother and my aunts all gave away their jewellery to people in the community who were in need. My family has taught me to keep things simple and wear gold jewellery gracefully. I think Haati Chai and Amarilo do exactly that.


Where are your family's origins?
My mother’s side of the family is from Northern Pakistan. My father’s side is from Punjab, and my grandmother was from Uzbekistan. During the Communist revolution, her family walked from Central Asia to pre-partition India following the Silk Road.  

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