‘Bangalore Nature Bazaar’ organised by Dastkar has been on from August 6th and goes on till the 15th at Palace Grounds.
Dastkar is a society for ‘Crafts and Craftspeople’ founded in 1981 by six women with the objective of creating self-reliant crafts groups and for empowering women through crafts, among others. This year there are 110 craft groups from all over India and the stalls are a riot of colours.
There are traditional paintings (madhubani, pattachitra, worli ); clothes made out of cotton using energy-efficient techniques, local weavers and non toxic, organic dyes; jewellery handmade from wood, silver and old coins; earthenware and stoneware from different corners of India, like Assam, Manipur and Kerala; handmade, hand dyed puppets and kites; quilts; patchwork bags and beautiful saris and stoles.
I think that the event is not publicized enough (the comments book at the cash counter also reflected this) and that this is one event which should bring in many more people, after all the cause is to help preserve our traditional arts and crafts and help local artisans.
It can also be a fun, family outing because the venue is a large enough space for enjoying the traditional dances and puppet shows, trying your hand at the craft workshops for puppet making, clay modelling, madhubani painting and doll making, and tasting food from other parts of India at the food stalls.
Here is a look at some of the things I brought home
An earthenware jar or bharani for storing pickles and such, made by the Kumbhara (potters) tribe of Kerala. The stall had more useful pots and pans all apparently microwaveable.
An unusual shaped teapot made by north- eastern craftspeople.
a Rajasthani patchwork rucksack,
beautifully, over bright cushions from ‘Dastkar Ranthambore’
and some simple, inexpensive jewellery
Can you completely fall in love with a city in just three days? I think when it is Bombay you really can. I believe every cliché about Bombay now- that it gets into your system, that if you live in Bombay you never want to live anywhere else. If you are leading too comfortable a life then you must head to Bombay for a strong dose of adrenaline. I was on such a buzz the entire trip, all my time spent outdoors drinking in the crazy air and walking in the rain, not really conducive to photography but perfect for soaking in the atmosphere of the city.
I loved that Bombay is always awake- I went for a walk on the beach very early in the morning and also late in the night and felt completely safe. I loved that the taxi and rickshaw drivers were friendly and helpful, that the taxis were old Premier Padmini’s, and that the ones I travelled in though rusted and falling apart, were upholstered in bright colours inside. I loved the beach sides, marine drive and bandstand and such others eating masala corn, vada pav, and peanuts and watching the rough monsoon sea.
I loved that it looked liked the whole of Bombay was free to be out and were out on the beaches, romancing couples, groups of teenagers, young working girls, old married couples, boisterous young men, joggers, walkers, posh people in posh cars, women in shorts and women in burkhas, lonely single men and women, power couples jogging in tandem– showing you a microcosm of India. I loved the older parts of the city with its beautiful but run down bungalows, churches and quaint shops and the buzzing railway stations, where if you stop and observe for a moment scenes change like in a kaleidoscope.
I loved that I went against popular opinion that Bombay shouldn’t be visited in the rains. It was the best season to visit Bombay, wet and cold, and in any case everybody just goes about doing whatever they want to do with an umbrella and rubber chappals and you get into the same spirit. I know now that everything that you read about the city is true. Strangely you don’t feel like an outsider -you can get to the city and instantly step into the bustle and become a part of it.
You can’t go to Bombay and not see the unbearable disparity in the city the super rich alongside the really, really poor. Although it is everywhere I got a firsthand tiny dark glimpse into the hellish lives that some lead when I walked down a subway crossing, an unimaginable number of people including mothers with tiny babies, old people and whole families crammed into a small space eating, sleeping, fighting in unbelievable filth and poverty.
You also can’t go to Bombay and not see the filthy roads and the squalor that people have to contend with, the water-logged streets and the manic traffic jams but inspite of all this you leave the city regretfully, missing the freespirit that is Bombay.