Browsing Category

Travel

Accessories, Fashion Clothes, Gender, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition, Travel

The Lost Land Of Afghanistan That I Found in Rome

March 22, 2019
Moody Mo

Flea markets world over has been my never-to-miss spot. As usual once in Rome I tried to follow the adage – be a Roman in Rome. I got my gladiator sandals out and decided to look for Al Capone on the streets. I found many with noses that could hold a hanger with my freshly ironed robes. And was amused at the confidence levels with which they charm the panties of a celibate. The Romans are loud, emotional, proud people with a daunting history that takes you back into time. The architecture lying in ruins throughout Rome reminds you of the history books you have read as a child. The paintings and the sculptures breathing life into their stone eyes and structure keep me spellbound for more.

Opposite the river bank on a Sunday noon, are tired and hopeful shopkeepers selling art, jewellery and pasta stalls. In the midst of all this, I find the city filled with migrant labourers from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and many more places. Selling their wares with the hope of earning a good future for their families. I always find myself drawn to people whose eyes have stories. As I navigate my path into the Flea market below a long winding staircase, I am reminded of the absolute genius of this country and it’s Neo-Realism films that have inspired so many artists. I am reminded of the genius of Vittoria Di Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and the many more films that have made me weep for the protagonists.

In this flush of weeping and awe of the city and its history, in a corner, I found an open stall with the most exquisite Afghani jewellery. The shop owner was a tall, burly man with a complexion that has traces of his Afghani Roots. His eyes are proud and he is selling not because he likes to sell but has to feed himself and his family. I find myself lost in his beautiful, intricate, stone inlay traditional jewellery. It is made up of German Silver and glass with enamel inlay floral designs.

He tells me his name is Ahmed and he is a Kuchi nomad. They are the nomads from the Ghilji tribal confederacy, the largest tribe called the Pashtuns from Afghanistan. He said the poorer families wear these silver pieces because the more exorbitant things are used for the Nikkah (marriage) and those are also made with floral and crescent moon designs.

Ahmed sold me his choice of jewellery and I couldn’t say no to his gaze of hope. He said it looked beautiful on me. Rome had taught Ahmed to be a Roman in Rome. Effortlessly flirting with women who thronged his space in the flea market.

I wear my Afghan tribal jewellery with much pride. It speaks of the resilience of the nomads who are not bound by chains of settling down. I can’t help but smile at the irony of life, we the settlers who are always unsettled in our hearts. Searching for the elusive spot of sunshine and security. Unlike the nomads, they live one day at a time.

The crescent moon on my necklace is one step away from its fullness. The tiny silver on its edge is illuminated by the glass pieces reflecting the sun rays. I imagine a bride in the finery of her Afghani resplendence saying “Kubool hai, Kubool hai” even if her heart says no. I had to have Ahmed’s story on my neck.

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Tradition, Travel

The Opulence of Sangeeta Boochra’s Creations

February 13, 2019

Invaders since history have plundered and destroyed in a macho need to establish their identity. And while establishing identity of their separate culture they also have left footprints of their rich art and traditions. We witness the magic of resilience of the plundered citizens as they wipe away the fear, the devastation and yet retain the beauty of the raped remnants.

Mughal Era in our country saw the exodus of the art forms in clothing, architecture and art. Their opulent craftsmanship was introduced into the jewellery of the invaded Rajput Kings and Queens. Here you see the passing of guard where the creators were the subjugated common artisans. So many years have passed but the indelible mark of this vintage art is still coveted among the connoisseurs of jewellery wearers and makers from the region of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Who could forget the simmering passion between Akbar and his Rajput Queen Jodha! She embodied the Mughal jewellery all over her persona making her beautifully broken yet resurrected with his love and her eventual surrender to Akbar.

Sangeeta Boochra’s brand is also an ode to the art of the Mughal Era. The multiple silver chain necklace settles on my heart chakra and I am reminded of this confluence of love with labour of the international Amazonite gem stones found in the rain-forest of Brazil, decorated with silver intricate motif flowers. The clasp is an influence from the tribal jewellery style of Rajasthan. As I wear this necklace I realise, we all grow up together, homogeneously with the gift from the rain-forests natural abundance of gemstones and the flower motif which represents the Hindu obeisance to the Goddess in you and me. The seamless sewing of different cultures into one common tapestry of art and craft leaves one amazed. The jewellery is her personal story of this diversity and of our common shared world culture.

Women adorning jewellery rich in art and craftsmanship will always be the point of attention among other women who gather and gossip in social get together. And the wearers eyes will betray the self love of indulgence as she wears this piece of conversation-starter jewellery, created by the artisans from the rich Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.

What kept me intrigued was the story of this young bride who entered the Boochra household. They were jewellery makers since many years. It took her enterprising father-in-law to notice her curious eyes and he knew he had found his art inheritance. He encouraged his young “Bahu” to step out of the kitchen confines and enter the world of male-dominated industry of jewellery designing. Sangeeta found her artistic anchor in her new found passion of jewellery making. Today, the brand boasts of celebrities and Heads of States who have adorned her creations. As you hear her story, you believe that a father-in-law can also be a mentor and it takes a real father figure to do that. Sangeeta remains eternally grateful for this inheritance of art and business.

Just as they would say in the Shekhawati dialect, “Ma Thane Ghano samman Desyu” which translates to“I give you great respect” for restoring the magnificence of the royalty and making it available for all of us.

Re-emergence is refreshingly soulful in this Mughal inspired necklace. I could have more and more of Sangeeta Boochra in my collections.

 

#Mughalart #Jewellery #designer #SangeetaBoochra #Indianjewellery #silverneckpiece #tradition #Rajasthan #shekhawati #royaljewellery

Fashion Clothes, Indian culture, Tradition, Travel

Unstructured Structure With Khushnuma

January 18, 2019
KHUSHNUMA KHAMBATTA

Yet, again and again, I am drawn into the colours that just beckons me. It’s a rack full of clothes and I find myself feeling the fabric and staring at this particular grey-blue layered shirt. I look into the label and the name is equally intriguing. It says Khushnuma Khambatta and I roll the name in my mouth with a deep nostalgia for Arabic names. Khushhhnuma!!

I know I am a hoarder and I have read so many stories on decluttering, emotional baggage and the rest of the Zen philosophy. I know I have no more space in my overcrowded cupboard. Clothes are like a blast from the past, some I put away. And every time I open that secret door, I question my growth. I still love clothes, fabrics, art and craft. I promise you that I try to control my excessive buying habits. But can you resist a colour that you love? Well, I just love the colour blue. It’s the colour of the sky and the ocean, both are calming and unfathomable. The conversation in my head is dimmed with the blue hue encompassing me. I felt the layering of the garment which gives fluidity to this structured shirt. This fluidity was like dance moves on the otherwise structured garment. The colour was bright without being loud and was perfect for my current conflicted brain. What should I say and what shouldn’t?

I realised that the more of “me” would always love a good garment, a good song, a poignant film and anything that sets my spirit free.

Despite my growth as a person, the gnawing doesn’t end. An internal conversation to no avail, to reduce the clutter. I have not been successful in this mission. Maybe, I just need to resign to my love for life where it is manifested best with music, good designs, beautiful clothing, honest conversations and a lot of sunshine. This ability to acknowledge that I do love the “more”. I am struck with vivid memories when I sit opposite my overstuffed cupboard, touch and feel the fabric. It reminds me of stories, invariably most of them have been rooted in my days of being unable to get out of bed with a debilitating autoimmune disorder. So I shall hoard, wear and buy all the material things that give me joy as it’s a celebration of life. I don’t feel vulnerable when I look nice. Maybe it’s not too deep but who cares!

Right now it’s the “Khushi” with Khushnuma Khambatta and I ain’t complaining. We want more & more of it. Keep the fluidity flowing, not just in the clothing, but also in your thoughts. Like you draw paintings on water, the fluidity cannot be reined and this makKhushnumaKhushnumaes it more desirable. Also, the truth is that no woman ever complained when she felt pretty or desired. I feel sensual in blue, sexy in black, pristine in white and passionate in red. And we haven’t even touched all the colours yet.

Travel

The Last Of The Winter Sun Of Poush Sankranti

January 15, 2019

Remembering the cold winter morning of my childhood in Shillong, is really like a kaleidoscope. As I sit basking in the city sun, Sankranti seems like a leaf out of the many memories buried deep inside me. I recall the foggy mornings, the frozen dew on the supple leaves of our garden. The sun rays would softly melt the dew drops to fall into oblivion in the garden. Just like most of our memories that get lost and what remains are remnants of it, in the years that happen to us.

Just like my forgotten tune of the Sankranti song of Mera Merir Ghor Jole re, we spend days creating a house made of the haystack. And just as the sun ended it’s cycle with the Capricorn star, Mera is the Ram and Meri is the Ewe. The song is that the Ram’s and Ewe’s home is up in flames; Ram is shopping and Ewe is missing. While singing this song, we lit the hut ablaze and watch the embers bring down the last season of our past. We sang that song loudly and stood beside it eating our special sweets.

Bengali homes make sweets like the pithe. During this season you find the Nolen Gur which is a special jaggery found for this short spell of the fading winter. If I don’t pen down this memory, it would be injustice to the hard work of creating that haystack of moments which I would forget forever. Sleep would play hide and seek in my baby eyes, because I knew, that before the sun came up, the water would be boiled and then Ma would give me a bath. We would run out into the freezing winter of Shillong to watch the bamboo crack inside that hut and the chirping of the birds would be silenced with the loud singing of the songs.

Today, I barely eat any of those sweets because to make them is an enormous task which requires great culinary expertise and the enthusiasm of the rest of the family members. With nuclear families, most of these simple joys of celebration are now dead.

But every Sankranti, I still smile at the memory of the burning hut, the sweets and the welcoming of the harvest season. I have lost touch with those friends with whom I made lifetime memories. But every Sankranti brings back the same thoughts with a smile on my face.

To the Bihu, Pongal and Lohri celebrations, I wish happiness and gratitude to everyone for the abundance of the sun that shines in every home this Sankranti

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition, Travel

Story On A Scroll

January 4, 2019
Pattachitra

As you travel to West Bengal, the art form can be distinguished by the identity of each district. You have the Bankura Horses, the Phulia taant, the Kantha embroidery, the Baluchari and so on, the list is endless. What stays entrenched is the kitschy art form called the Pattachitra. This is a cloth based scroll painting that is known for its intricate details as well as the mythological narratives and folk tales inscribed on it.

Today, Pattachitra artists have found recognition internationally. Apart from painting in scrolls they have, in a very minuscule way, started creating clothing with the same art form in stoles and dupattas.

The excellent play of colour is part of rural Bengal and there is a controversy regarding the dates of the ancient patuas. This art form dates back to the Pre Pala period and is still tucked away in small villages of Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and other parts of 24 Parganas.

The colours are dense and natural. They represent the cultural traditions of creating Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Every Pattachitra has a song attached to it and the Patuas sing to you songs of folklore.

I felt the songs of Pradip Patua sear into my being. The innocence of his eyes. His folded jeans over his ankle and his rubber Bata chappal were telling me a story. His story of having walked miles in search of lost souls who could drown in his village tunes. He said, “don’t buy anything, just hear me sing”. How could I deny him his occupied space in my heart. I knew I would drown into his story of struggle about making his songs live through his art. He was simple to the point of it being a fault.

That evening, I returned to my urban space of artists, city slickers who all know how to negotiate a price for their art. I found myself feeling suffocated among the arrogant aware.

Pradip Patua stays with his innocence and I pray he finds a person who will open up his art and world. And he never needs to request anyone to listen to his songs ever.

I told him the world is round and the universe has a strength that we can’t comprehend. In that sphere he will find his space under the sunshine and his Pattachitra colours will burn bright into an endless prism.

As he folded his canvas I saw him smile at me. Unsure yet with a stoic gaze of an artist. I knew that look from deep inside of my being. It was of hope and wanting freedom from the clutches of poverty.

Fashion Clothes, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition, Travel

Thrifty Yet Beautifully Artsy-The Kantha Art

December 28, 2018
Kantha Saree

The Kantha is the passing of emotion and art, combining the love, fear, and hope of the homes in rural West Bengal. It is a distinct style of the Bengali embroidery of running stitches. Often used for a newborn, to wrap the child in a Kantha blanket and cover. The fragrance of an old sari of your grandmother or mother is reused with layers of soft cloth in between. It’s is a recycled form of embroidery as the thread used is pulled out of the old sari. All the women in Bengal villages learn this meticulous artwork of turning worn-out rags into beautiful blankets. This combination of frugal with the fabulous aesthetic is a sign that art resides in those nooks and corners of a poor home, where a child’s squall is treated with a lullaby because the jute or terracotta coin cache is empty. They wrap the child in a Kantha, praying to the spirit of the sun, moon and the skies above to keep her safe and healthy.

When the evening sets its crimson over the pond with the lotus and the moss. You find mothers wrapping their newborn in those covers and lighting the kerosene lantern signing the Laxmi hymn. Lest bad times fall on her baby and her home.

Often mothers start making a Kantha when the daughters have reached puberty to gift her during her marriage. It’s a ritual practised in rural Bengal. The dead are also wrapped in a Kantha before the cremation. I marvel, as I see this play of life and death with a form of embroidery that has been passed on through generations.

Today there are beautiful exquisite Kantha saris that one would wear with elan. The base is Tussar or cotton with the play of running stitches over it. Those running stitches have a story of flowers, peacocks, parrots, other birds and motifs over the fabric.

Kantha Saree

Kantha Saree

I spoke to Shabnam who hails from Murshidabad and she runs the Street Survivors endeavour in bringing women together who are creating different styles of Kantha embroidery to earn a livelihood.

She spoke passionately about the women who are returning what they learnt from their grandmothers and mothers.

The Kantha teaches us that old torn & worn out fabric has the softness and comforting feeling of a mother’s lap. As she shields you from the raging sun and the drenching rain. You know the cover that you create is one from your past. Of watching your grandmother stitch and sing even after losing her husband and watching her children abandon her. She sings into the needle with her old worn saris. Because those saris have a story and the scent of her transition from the matriarch to the woman shorn of colour, sexual longing, and any indulgence called living and life.

As she looks with her broken glasses into the spit softened thread to put into the needle eye. I see her surrender to her fading femininity and what remains is her acceptance that she is no longer needed, as much anymore.

 

 

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition, Travel

Revival Of Leather Crafts From Calcutta

December 20, 2018
Leather Handbag

Passing by the closed leather tannery in Calcutta, my heart sinks for the closed factories and the character of the distinctly Chinese settlement of Tangra on my way to the airport. I could feel the memory of the odour of leather permeating my senses & into my nostrils. The odour of the past when I lived in Calcutta. I saw buildings close to each other and large sheets of weathered leather being tanned. I often thought what would become of the finished leather. Would India ever be able to compete with the international standard of coveted world-class products. I know India has all the raw material but the lacks the endorsements it requires to create a product that the world would desire to pay the price it deserves.

Nostalgia is my companion, it keeps me warm on days I feel I the cold around my soul like a companion you nurture over the years. This transaction that life has to offer in our companionships, was always my gnawing thought of how life happens and your concept of relationships change over time. I realised that some inanimate things remain our companions forever. I love the Spanish term Kompanero which is a companion. So when I look back at the friendships I lost, my things that didn’t stay the same. A thought occurred to me about how some daily accessories are like a comfort pill in our lives. I never leave home without saying bye to my dog and my handbag. This is my kompanero. It holds my hidden notes of the fragility of my relationships. My lipstick, my book, my money and my other knick-knacks for the day.

My head is filled with so many jumbled up memories of the city I left years back. I suddenly realised I had time before catching my flight and sit in the Calcutta airport to catch my connecting flight back home. As I passed the stores and men sitting and sipping beer with a familiar bonhomie. My eyes were hooked to a store inside the cacophony of aeroplanes taking off and landing.

Leather Handbag

Leather Handbag

I saw the term Kompanero written in bold on a store. I was automatically moving towards the entrance to be greeted by a gentle Bengali salesman. He didn’t push to buy and I was relieved. I searched every rack and loved them all.

Suddenly there was this brand of bags in India, it was international in its style and extremely good quality leather. I had found my eyes blazing on every rack. The salesman told me that they have 50,000 sq ft of space in Calcutta, where they produce these bags. The local craftsman is being employed to sustain this culture in Bengal. It is intricate the work. The leather has a distinct distressed look and is created to perfection.

I sighed as I held one of the absolute gorgeous craftsmanship in my hand and felt the softness of the leather and its subtle branding that wasn’t shouting out loud but was absolutely done to perfection. I didn’t want to check the price tag and was pleasantly surprised at the cost. It was competitive without being too pricey. I pulled out my card, did the payment and was proud to have my Kompanero on my shoulder. I didn’t pack it in its cloth bag but emptied out the contents from my bag into my Kompanero.

It gets attention every time I carry it around. The fashionable lunching ladies ask me which international brand is this bag? While feeling the leather and discreetly trying to read the brand.

I smile and tell them. It’s my companion and it’s called Kompanero. It started in Bangalore and now is found all over Europe and in UK too. And yes it is made in India.

Look no further, you have so many brands in India with the excellence a connoisseur would search in their wine or cheese. Kompanero is superbly stylish and crafted to perfection. Your bag is your secret holder. Stuff in your ego inside your bag and carry it over your shoulder or across your tummy. It will always add and not reduce. I love it with all my heart and soul, my Kompanero, my companion forever.

 

Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition, Travel

The Universe Dares You To Walk The Unknown

December 17, 2018
Jaisalmer

It was the winter sun that casts its shadow at the far end of the horizon. The gates were shutting and the fierce walls of the desert fortress would shut. It was the setting sun of Jaisalmer.

Also called Shonar kella. Made most famous by the master filmmaker, Satyajit Ray. His eternal celluloid work of art remains a children’s favourite film. There I stood staring at this magnanimous structure, half lit and half dark with stories in the coloured glass windows of the homes in that fortress.

The golden walls amid that harsh, dry landscape and the deafening silence of the fortress is broken with the brightly dyed clothes of the Thar desert folks. The camels had done their day of work, resting with their hump juxtaposed against the colourless landscape.  The only coloured vision of the turbans and the sparse white Dhoti Kurta against the fading winter sun, cast a spell like it was god’s evil scheme of making me trip over for a long time after.

This was my first trip into Jaisalmer. The Thar desert devoid of any cultivation and the only thing visible was sand dunes followed by another dune that had no end. I sat on my long awaited camel ride with my baby and showed him the cactus growing unhindered unabashedly here & there. It almost seemed to rebel against its natural habitat. It stood up against the raging fierce sun and no water, mocking at the inhabitable surroundings. I heard them say fiercely. “ I will grow and thrive in spite of you”.

There was a storm brewing ahead and a bunch of women had come to fill water in their matkas or earthen pots, they wore the Ghagra Choli & wore leather jhootis.

Those jhootis were minimalist in design but sturdy. It was unisex footwear for the strong Rajasthani people. The stoic folk both wear the minimalist black or brown jhootis to trudge into this harsh landscape, in search of livelihood and sometimes their destination ahead.

Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer

I sit and marvel at the strength of those shoes. They trudge miles on end in search of water. Braving the burning sun, the harsh winters, the sandstorms and at times the camel refusing to move & rebelliously goes down on its haunches. I am humbled with this story of resilience in the kohl rimmed eyes of the desert people.

The women wear the jhootis with a flair that no other can. Their thick anklets around their feet and the swathes of fabric of their coloured skirts just higher than the heel, catches the dust and sun and continued to trudge ahead. It’s an untold story that only the wanderer and its wandering search would know.

Returning to the city after this surreal trip of the sun playing hide and seek games on the fortress walls of Jaisalmer is not easy. It keeps tugging you back into its romance. Returning to see all around you the western styled sandals and you are forced to remember the black, brown jhootis.

Many designers today create colourful jhootis. That are hand embroidered and made of silk & sequins. But my favourite remains the minimalist handmade Rajasthani leather unisex jhootis worn by the desert wanderers and the camel riders. A vision that stays entrenched in my soul.

All I can envision is the magic hour ahead and dark brown weathered legs wearing the worn out jhootis. It hangs like a story untold. It goads me to ask and hear. After the many miles that you have walked, trudged. Did you finally reach your destination?

I try to put my foot into their shoes and I try to know their stoic story of walking the unknown. On their way, they must have come face to face with unfathomable secrets of themselves. Will it ever reach their own ears. Or would their stories also remain untold, unheard and unsung like most of us. We keep some of our truth hidden from others. Stories of valour, love and moments of epiphany. Would it have changed them in any way ever?

Jaisalmer and the desert dunes remain immortal in my love stuck story of wanderlust.

 

Fashion Clothes, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition, Travel

Song Of Sanganer

December 13, 2018
Sanganer

Traveling to Jaipur with school friends for my birthday was a trip reminiscing the days of no money. Fights over some grace marks to make it through some exam, somewhere deep conversations about lost friendships, our first love and how life was slowly changing shape in our eyes. What seemed important earlier isn’t so any longer. What we craved for seemed so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. We spoke about losing parents, divorce, children flying the nest. Most evenings we dressed up to drink in style and fight over which song to sing or hear. As the night progressed the voices got louder, we laughed at all our heartbreak and recalled the stupid men we loved and lost. We also promised friendship that would last as long as we could take a trip together and visit each other’s homes. As the night progressed the vodka was finally doing all the conversations. Crying, laughing and blown we planned the next day itinerary to visit Sanganer.

The promise was to start early but as always vodka decides when we can pull ourselves out of that haze of the night before. We all sauntered out at the nick of breakfast closing time. Again forgot time sat and eventually decided to take the dusty road to Sanganer village, the hub for block printing of Rajasthan. It was a fun road trip into the narrow lanes with traders selling wholesale fabrics. There were shops that sold bed linen with the typical dyes and motifs of Rajasthan.

Sanganer town is known world over for its colourful block printed textiles and hand made paper. Most tourists are taken on that route for an excursion to witness the micro, small and medium printing units running in that little town. The people there are dependent on the Sanganeri print industry for their livelihood. It’s an art form that has been passed on through the generations.

Rajasthan being a dry arid land, the dye from Sanganer has the Saraswati river water that flows through the colours of the print that is radiant of the naturally dyed fabric.

This art form is 500 years old, it gained popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries in all European countries with its calico prints. It was one of the major exports from the East India Company. The Chhipa caste engage in this block printing technique and is a coveted art form and the pride of so many homes outside Sanganer.  The aesthetic styles just adds so much sophistication to a drab ambiance in any home or a garment with its traditional motifs and the colour scheme.

In Sanganer we see the perfect union of the two most volatile religions of India create art together. The Chhipas are Hindus and they are involved in the washing,  dyeing, and the printing process. The block makers are the Muslims of Sanganer. A lesson which the rest of India could learn from this sleepy, dusty town forgotten by us city dwellers.

As I went mad seeing all the swathes of fabric around me. I picked up my bag with the loot of  Sanganer. I realised I was carrying marigold, peacocks, jasmine and javakusum flowers in my memory of the holiday. And I know everytime I wear the fabric I bought from that dusty town, the fragrance of the river and the mud scent stays on my body. I know I can also remember the silence with which we drove back from that trip. Each of us prisoners in our thoughts, hoping next year would be different from this one.

We trudge on and Sanganer continues with its belief that no matter what. Art will live a life full, in its fabrics, music and the fading sun of Rajasthan.

Sanganer is a song that needs no tune, it’s hums on its own scales, reaching a crescendo, that beauty, art, and belief are immortal in this universe.

 

 

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition, Travel

Love For Lac

December 10, 2018
Lac Bangle

As you travel into Rajasthan you find women wearing the traditional lac bangles. These bangles are bright coloured designs that you find on the wrists of the desert women.

Lac is a resinous substance secreted by an insect called the Kerria Lacca. This insect hosts itself on the branches of the Peepal tree and forms an encrusted layer around it. The coated branches are cut sieved and washed to remove all the impurities. This natural seed lac is used to make bangles. The lac is mixed with stone powder and heated and carved over hot coal. Natural colours from vegetables are used to make them colourful.

The Manihar family is the traditional lac bangle maker and Iqbal Sheikh tells us his journey of travelling far and wide in taking this art form into the cites.

Iqbal doesn’t yet understand the preference of colours in cities and is still creating rural gaudy colour. But Iqbal is sharp and realises his next visit, he would create subtle colours in his bangle collection.

I hope we give artisans like Iqbal a place under the sun so that the Kerria lac insect and its creation is acknowledged and what is being offered as a gift for the wrists of the woman in you and me.

Lac is love between the tree and its inhabitants. As the numerous insects who climb and live on its bark. The Peepal tree nurtures the Kerria. For more resin and more bangles. Let the trees grow into branches, green supple leaves and flowers. The insects will find its nectar. The nectar in turn will nurture its reward of resin.

Like a woman who loves with all her heart and feels the magic of its emotion on her heart and soul. The lac is also a tedious labour of love of the bangle maker who travels through Rajasthan adoring the wrists of women from home to home.

Lac will lose its lustre if you cut trees and the shade it gives to the bangle maker who travels far and wide for his muse.