a visit to the dastkar nature bazaar
dastkar nature bazaar @ the crafts museum, bhairon marg, near pragati maidan
8 – 19 october 2011 from 10.30 am – 7.30 pm
getting there: get off at pragati maidan metro station on the blue line and take the mathura road exit. take an auto straight up mathura road and turn left onto bhairon marg. the crafts museum is the first building on your left and is at present festooned with many green and yellow dastkar banners. it’s very close to the metro so you should only pay around 20-25 rupees for the auto depending on your bargaining skills :-)
today i went to the dastkar nature bazaar and spent a good 3 hours there checking the place out before leaving exhausted and with a big bag of goodies i had bought (mostly) for myself.
dastkar is an ngo that works primarily with rural communities, focusing on their traditional arts and crafts, which could be anything from certain kinds of jewelry, embroidery, pottery, painting etc etc. they try to work in such a way that the traditional craft in question is preserved, that it reaches a market and that the artisans receive financial benefits which reflect the actual worth of their creations. you can check out a short feature on dastkar and its founder laila tyabji over here: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/article2519118.ece. (isn’t the part about the plastic aprons just awful? *shudder*)
the “nature bazaar” is a huge sale that happens twice a year in delhi, in the spring and before divali. there are hundreds of stalls, each manned by the artisans themselves, selling a vast array of very, very beautiful things. (i can honestly say i didn’t see even one thing i could call ugly or in bad taste at the bazaar today.)
the best way to tackle this labyrinthine sprawl is to go twice – once to get an idea of everything that’s available and how much they cost and the second time with enough cash in your wallet, a clear idea of what you want and perhaps even a list of upcoming birthdays.
anyway, on to the good stuff, i.e. what i bought. this time, that is! also going back next week ;-)
first up was the dastkar stall itself, where i bought this white cotton tunic with pink and purple threadwork. (guess what i’m wearing to work tomorrow!) this cost rs. 480.
it’s made under the dastkar ranthambhore label, which is a project involving villagers who were displaced when the tiger sanctuary was established in that area of rajasthan. one never really thinks that there are consequences of such policies for people too right? somehow, i hadn’t thought about this sort of thing in the longest time. anyway, here is a close up of the threadwork on the sleeve and yoke.
the tunic came in a cute little blue cotton bag with a print of the ranthambore project’s tiger logo. this is pictured here with the invite to the nature bazaar which my parents got in the mail only this evening! i’m thinking of using the bag to carry my lunch to work…
here are a few shots of the invite too.
next up was this stall run by what i think is the lakshya foundation, selling patchwork handbags, purses and backpacks. the guys there told me that this provides employment to street children who have been taken off the street, after they turn 18. i bought the handbag in pink and the wallet in blue, for rs.300 and rs. 150 respectively. cute no?
finally, i went to a stall run by umang, an ngo based in uttarakhand, selling all sorts of super soft knitted woollens and some delicious looking plum and apricot jams. for rs. 1275 i bought what they called a “cape”, though it reminds me of a cross between a snuggie and a shawl (umm, a shuggie?) this is what it looks like laid out. note the presence of just one sleeve:
how it works is that you put your right arm through that one sleeve and then wrap the rest of it around you, like a shawl. it makes for an interesting silhouette for sure.
next week: what shall i buy next – dhokra jewelry from orissa? tunics with floral block-prints? a tiny handbag made of pink silk and dark camel’s leather? not to forget that i have some birthday presents to buy too, including a long overdue one for my (rather fussy, hence the delay) mother. looking forward to it already!
umm, i am really looking forward to it…but, i’m just gonna say it, it is still so hard for me to process the fact that i’m doing this on my own and not with a certain young man. argh! must soldier on!