I first stepped into Selvi's beauty parlour at Little India Arcade with the intention of getting henna artwork for the very first time. I had previously heard a lot about Selvi, specifically for her work with henna. I was accompanied by some folks from the Indian Heritage Centre who helped introduce me to her, and after which I proceeded to select a more traditional design of henna art for myself. What immediately struck me was Selvi's confidence and assuredness in the way she spoke. Whilst I got my henna painted by one of her assistants, she happily shared about her experiences doing business through the years, previously at Serangoon North and now at Little India Arcade. I got to share a little about my project with her and she graciously agreed to support me in my work. Following the initial meeting, I frequented her shop almost every other day (not always for henna though) and got to know not only Selvi herself but her many shop assistants. I look back fondly at the many long conversations we had during her less busy periods, where she began to share her many struggles in life and how she constantly perseveres to overcome them.
And that's exactly what I find inspiring about Selvi - she's an overcomer. No matter how large or small the challenge is, she faces it head on with the mentality and willpower to overcome it. Not only that, she seeks to motivate others to do the same, which is exactly what came through in her Journey Piece.
I'm thankful for the friendship I have with Selvi and am encouraged by her drive to remain strong, blessing those around her be it her customers, staff, friends, or family.
Written by Neil Chan