Living heritage each day,
wearing a self-assigned uniform for his work,
hands stained permanently in hues,
you'll still see a form of contentedness on his face.
He is the artisan who brings colors to our lives, in every color he abstracts, each stroke he prints, in each wash that fastens the color.
While our Holi still remains the day to immerse each other in bright gulaal, we strived to bring stories of our artisans, who ultimately color every day of our lives. One day for us while every day for these artisans.
And that's why we bring their colourful stories on Holi in the series #HoliWithArtisans.
He is a Handblock Artisan from Farukabaad who has inherited the art from his family. While we talked to him and tried to understand how he does what he does, his hands did not stop.
"I have been doing this for 11 years now, not a single day feels like I don't belong here. I learnt the craft from my Chacha Ji. Everyone who is into this work has inherited it from one of their family members.
I once went to watch a Natak in my village; I spotted actors wearing one of my Hand block work, I was elated and told my family, 'See, that's my art work'. It was a proud moment to share with my family.
Yes, they live in UP, and this Holi I am visiting to celebrate with them. If you haven't been to UP during Holi, you haven't seen real Holi."
Since we are talking about Holi and colours, what's your favourite colour?
"Why do you want to know? Nevermind, let me tell you, it's Yellow."
Hmm.. because it looks good after printing!
He asked why we are so inquisitive about his life, to which we answered to take your story to our community. He jumped happily and said, 'Oh, so you want to share my feelings with everyone' We nodded in agreement.
Vinay is shy as a person and a man of less words but with a beautiful smile. We asked him if he likes what he does, he looked up to us and said with affirmation ‘Han Bilkul’ ( yes, obviously)
He continues, "I am into this craft for more than a decade now and I like it when people visit here to see what we do and how we do. It always feels good to see people taking interest to know what I do and how I do."
We asked, what is the most important thing in his life?
"I think the most important thing in anybody’s life is samman (dignity and honour), everything comes secondary.So, it’s important for me to have earned it.
When I learnt this I did not know I will be here for this long, but here I am, still rocking it."
''It's been 11 years living this timeless craft, Ajrak. What makes it timeless (quite literally) for me? My father learnt the craft of block printing from my grandfather & then imparted the learning to me. I was born in a small town near Ahmedabad known as Dhamnaka; with the dream to take this family inheritance forward and to make it grand, my father schooled me with the art of the craft in me.
As time passed we pursued modernity in our design and patterns, which became one of the important aspects for our success today.
I spend most of my time at work and when I go back home, the Mirchi Aloo my mother's makes, it just makes me feel content and I can barely worry about anything.
Another thing I love is travelling, it's impossible to keep me away from it. I visited Kashmir lately amid a hectic schedule - just because I like baraf. But that is reason enough to travel.
There is one more thing I can't resist, volleyball. Every evening, all my colleagues/friends play this sport & its such a relaxing activity.
But What's the point of asking about my personal choices and journey?''
Well Wahid, to let people know you more than your craft.
Sooraj's favourite colour is Pink because he says it is his city's colour. He is working in a Handblock workshop for more than 5 years now. He prepares colour for the artisans to be put on fabric.
He absolutely loves coming to work. The best part of work he says is the people whom he works with. He has this jolly personality which makes the workshop's and everyone's mood always lively.
When asked about his personal choices, he said he is an avid fan of #cricket 🏏, and about his favourite Cricketer, he said, 'Abhi to Rohit Sharma chal raha hai favourite, but wese Tendulkar hai'.
His family stays in UP, that's where he also spent his childhood. This Holi Sooraj says he is excited to visit his home as this will be the first time he is visiting them after a long break.
Like everyone else, he too asked, "Why are you asking so much about me?"
And when we told, he smiled even brighter and started talking again.
It became an overwhelming experience for us to hear stories of their craft, family and themselves. These little interactions bring a lot of colorful smiles to our face. Hope they do for you as well.
Explore the meticulous craft they create with our Hand block collection & Craft Your Story in all your favorite shades. Don't forget to share it with us.