Ideas have changed the world. And this one is one hell of a cracker. Delhi based entrepreneur Shripriya Dalmia Thirani – the rank outsider who won the rights to start Mumbai’s largest restaurants on the sea has been quite in the news recently for her tremendously creative and path breaking ideas.

Altars of Yearning – How India Prays will mark the launch of Mumbai’s largest restaurants on the sea

Photo courtesy: Blackboard Library Image

And now, she has come up with another winner – an explosion of invention. Thirani – a trained graphic artist – has decided to do a soft launch of her ships – Queensline Sea Yah and Queensline Neverland with the most unique idea in recent times.

Thirani has commissioned and is curating an extra extraordinary exhibition of photographs that will assert India’s true identity as a secular nation at a time when such an idea is in serious question. In what is shaping up to be the show of the year, a first-of-its-kind narrative to show how India prays – told through 50 stunning photographs – will open at the iconic Bikaner House in Delhi on June 15.

The show “ALTARS OF YEARNING – HOW INDIA PRAYS” according to Thirani is the first such show under the banner of the Queens line Art Series that she flags off next month.

India sees a million new launches a year but very few leave people amazed.

With the appeal of the sedentary life of a brand beginning to wane, the pull of “real stuff” – getting out to look at art in glorious surroundings – is proving ever more irresistible.

Thirani’s idea of doing a show with such strong philosophy to launch her series of restaurants only makes us salivate. She deserves nothing less than a standing ovation.

The show stems from the philosophy that all great things start with a prayer. So will be her launch.

The photographs are majestic and heart-warming – a show that is bound to be a rage if it travels across the world as India’s true ambassador.

A Tate Modern or the Gagosian would drool over this repertoire put together by Thirani. The depth of knowledge of the idea is unprecedented, the images – most of which are candid are incredibly captured while the sensibility of the repertoire will clearly catapult Thirani to one of Asia’s best curators with this show.

Most great talents have sprung out of anonymity. Thirani is the new kid that is all set to rock the art world with her debut itself.

Thirani who is starting her restaurants on the sea by the end of this year says that prayer is the greatest institution of human life much like language.

From one welcomed by birth or bid good bye through death – prayer stays constant. It will remind the world of India’s incredible social fabric – a land of many people, many cultures, and many religions coexisting peacefully as one – prayer a common phenomenon among all of them.

“It is that moment in our lives when we are most real, most true, most vulnerable and above all, most private. This show that has never been done before will be the first to catch people unaware, at the time of their prayer,” Thirani said.

The Indian subcontinent is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. There are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

But what my show intends to reveal is faith and how man in flesh connects to God in spirit.

Prayer for me is the greatest art form. Like art, prayer expresses the inner yearning of the human soul: in prayer, our souls reach toward God as God reaches toward us,” she added.

“I for instance greatly believe in the power of prayer. I prayed when I became a mother, I prayed when I became an entrepreneur and I pray almost every day. These are values inculcated in me by my family and specially my parents. It gives me strength, courage and above all purifies me to deal with the world around me with honesty and conviction,” Thirani says.

Blackboard has learned that the show will be attended by the country’s richest, most powerful and most influential people along with a galaxy of foreign diplomats. The show opens by invitation on June 15 at 6.30 pm but from June 16-23 will be open for the public to see, at the Bikaner House gallery.

Blackboard has been allowed a small peek into the repertoire and it has left us gasping for breath. Such intensity of purpose behind every shot, such powerful storytelling, such knowledge of an idea and such depth of reason – Thirani’s repertoire demonstrates precocious flair with feverish energy and boundless invention.

It is clear that Thirani has spilled serious sweat to put this collection together. She has followed the secret lives of Bramhacharis in Bodh Gaya, Bihar to the households of West Bengal bidding good bye to Mother Goddess Durga.

The series inside mosques will give you goose bumps while the photographs taken of prayer in daily life is indescribable beyond words. Such a varied collection could easily take years to put together. What startled us was to know that this repertoire of flattering proportions has been put together only in a matter of weeks.

Victor Hugo once said that “there is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come”.

We at Blackboard believe that Thirani with her show has just hit the ball out of the park with her very first entry into the art world.