Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Prabhjot Kour Dhillon's sojourn as a pilot-turned-paper artist & Air Force wife

Hello friends - faujis, fellow fauji wives & non-faujis! Welcome to 'The Brigade That Builds Brands'. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more.

Meet Prabhjot Kour Dhillon, a Paper Craft Artist, former AF pilot and fellow Air Force wife. When I sent out the message for interview requests for this series (The Brigade That Builds Bands) and connected with Prabhjot for the first time, it turned out that she was my husband's course mate from the Air Force Academy. A happy coincidence that re-asserts the fact that this world of ours is truly a small and cozy one.

Let's get on with our chat as Prabhjot and I 'talk' about how she re-ignited her creativity after leaving the Air Force, turning her art into a creative venture. I do hope many of you will be inspired to do the same and create your own craft-based brands while juggling the many commitments of the service life.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

P. Hi, I am Prabhjot Kour Dhillon, married to Gp Capt Anurag Khurana since 2003 and currently based in Jamnagar. I am a creative entrepreneur. I am into intricate cutting of paper works, mostly defence related themes like aircrafts, carriers, submarines, insignias as well as other things. Along with this, I also do paper craft, hand embroidery, bottle texturing, tatting and upcycling of folders. I have also taken workshop for ladies and children in basic and advanced paper craft, and stencils. I have put up my work at the AFWWA shop. I also take online orders, my work displayed on my Facebook page HandKraftd. Recently I had also put up my work at Kala Ghoda Art Festival, in Mumbai, along with another paper artist. 

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

P. I have always been into creative arts since my teen years. Lost touch when I was serving in the IAF as a Pilot. I restarted my hobbies after I left service and only recently commercialized my work since Oct, 2017. 

C. Fauji wives make their home in an assortment of obscure places across the country. Our lives are about living in the moment and doing what we can, when we can. Can you share how you stayed creative or found work that satisfied you while moving across the country?

P. The resources for my kind of work are available everywhere. Thankfully I have been based at places which were well equipped, so never had that problem. Things like finding a good framing shop was a hassle here in Jamnagar. The best I could find was in Rajkot which is around 100km. But since I can drive and am independent, I just drive to Rajkot and get my work done. 

C. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities that are an integral part of the fauji community, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

P. Hobbies are about spending your leisure time in something you love to do. If it makes money as well..I guess that’s the perfect job satisfaction. And, taking time out for something is all about priorities and time management, which with so many years of experience we have all learnt to manage. 

C. How do you market your business and products while moving from base to base, place to place, and often to remote areas?

P. I have a page on Facebook named HandKraftd which showcases all my work and I take the orders online. So even if I move to different bases, the work does not suffer as I can courier my parcels. Otherwise , there's always the AFWWA shop to keep my products. 

C. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community? And is there something you feel must/can change for the better?

P. As an Entrepreneur and a Fauji wife, I love the belonging and connection we have to where we are. Nobody is trying to put you down. The change is coming, and it can be felt in every aspect, in the sense that now women want to be independent. This was not the way earlier. They were content with their situation. This I feel is the first big step for everyone.

C. What challenges have you faced in balancing work and fauji life?

P.  In fauj we are like 'Koop Mandook'. It's the frog in a well who doesn’t know about the world outside. It's the same for us. A lot is happening in the world. Even though we live in the age of internet, we lack the exposure to various art festivals, exhibitions and so on.

C. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue their dreams while living at small and busy bases (many still believe or led to believe that you can either be a fauji wife or a professional, and that’s not true)?

P. It's all about priorities. Where there's a will, there's a way. With work going online, there’s a huge door open to all. There might be few difficulties, but not so much that we can't find a way through it. And, we are genetically built to multi-task, so we know how to juggle work and home.

C. A parting quote or philosophy that helps you stay calm and do what you do?

P. Hobbies are therapeutic. And if they pay you as well, what more can we ask for. We just need to prioritize things in our life and decide what’s more important to us.

C. Thank you for joining me at my blog!

Hey reader, would you like to read more military spouse/fauji wife interviews and stories? Here's the entire section.

And while you've still got your read-a-roo cap on, hop over to our Women's Wellness & Green Living e-Magazine - Gorgeous Girls Go Green, for a clutch of interesting articles.

#militaryspouse #armywife #faujiwife #TheBrigadeThatBuildsBrands #faujiwifeentrepreneur #gorgeousgirlsgogreen


  1. Another interesting story so well written Chandana. Hope your blog reaches more Fauji spouses across the three Services.

    1. Thanks a lot, Uncle. I do hope more fauji wives give entrepreneurship a chance.

  2. A coursemate sent a link to me and am so glad I came across this post. As a Fauji and an avid crafter myself and just 50 kms away from where Prabhjot Ma'am lives, I am looking forward to meet her soon. And glad to get to follow your blog too!

    1. So glad. Yes, do stay tuned in for more fauji wife entrepreneurship stories and other good stuff.


Popular Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Subscribe to our mailing list