I know I’ve been out of blogging for a long time now. So much was happening that I had to take a break to reign in the chaos. Now that I am in control, I think I should get back to this favorite activity. More so because I am turning 30 in 4 days. Considering that life has been one roller coaster ride all along, I think it is time to take stock, time to relish the happy moments and time to flip through this blog. This blog started my current life, the life that gave me an identity that I so love now.
The first post on Rajasthan was straight out of my trip. I remember having proof read that post a million times. I was learning image editing softwares then and it was a huge task to edit all of 5 photos for the blog post. The Dhurrie that I bought on that trip still rests under my feet as I am smiling away at the blog.
Then came the Bangalore trip with it’s 100 year old workshops, travel to an obscure stone carver’s village, leather puppets and my brush with the spirits. One of my closest friends and a pillar of strength and support navigated me through roads that never showed up on Google. What an adventure that was!
Photo Courtesy: Sindhu Sarathy
Puri happened all of a sudden and I was suddenly gaping with eyes wide open at all the beautiful Pattachitra paintings.
The first product range was launched from that trip. With a few pieces of Uluka in hand from inside a tiger sanctuary in Dhenkananal, I decided that something had to be done. I had to do something to change the plight here, better their lives. I had to help them earn. Today we supply Dhokra products made by Dushashan Behera and his whole community to US and Dubai. The community now has a computer to see our emails and works with a logistics company to send us products every month.
Diwali 2011 is such a blur. I ran around promoting hand-crafted gift-sets, laboured at getting boxes done and packing all that dry-fruit in little pouches. All I remember is that I still get orders for my sets, even an year after Diwali.
Christmas bells in tow and I was replacing those plastic bells with little hand-crafted ones from Kutch.
A winter Kutch trip was long overdue and I discovered the Sufi singer cum Lippan artist who wove magic with just mud and mirrors. I was exhausted after a day in the Rann where our car sunk into the marshy land! I landed at Mehmoodbhai’s house and all that fatigue vanished as I gawked at his walls.
Sometime around this time, I was looking to gift a three-year old. All I could find were expensive imported toys. I wanted something that was fun and Indian. I remembered those ‘Young World’ days from my childhood and took a friend’s help on sketches. Soon the block-printing kit was in place!
Around this time I realised that we were doing very well outside of Ahmedabad, while I was hitting a wall everytime I tried something there. My friends reasoned that a little awareness drive was required and we did the first craft workshop. The Warli workshop was covered by 2 newspapers and was such a smashing hit. I almost contemplated changing my business model and only conducting workshops!
The workshop and my blog paved the way for the rest of the journey and I landed at CEPT. The Madhubani workshop opened up new friendships and interesting avenues. I designed the tissue boxes and chocolate boxes during this time. The enthusiastic artist couple- Naveen and Pooja painted day and night to finish the first lot.
From tissue boxes, we graduated to walls and made beautiful Madhubani trees in two locations. Constant work has enabled our Madhubani artists to invest in a camera and take pictures of all their work which they can now send to me.
So the last year and a half has paved the way for a new life. I am happy and only counting my blessings. There have been trying times, doubtful times, angry times and even ‘this is the end’ times. But the good overrides the bad. Always.