A Sight for Sore Eyes

I had gone to Thekkady, Kerala, some months ago and among the fish and the rain, I also happened to experience a mountain so lush its named just that—the green mountain. It’s  called so because the mountain retains its greenery throughout the year. The forest on the mountain houses such tall trees that encapsulate clouds, and ensure the forest gets enough rainfall even in summer. So the mountain never sees a brown day, refreshing every visitor that comes its way.

green mountain in Thekkady

A Road Trip to Remember

Road trips are the best. For me, they bring out my most weird inclinations. Like, for instance, stooping down to the ground for picture of the sand or climbing onto the bonnet of the car to pose for a portrait. But at the end of the day when I look at myself in the mirror, I see more than sand-smeared knees and a dust covered-face. I see the shadow of a smile of satisfaction that only a road trip can leave behind.

road-trip

What’s in a Name?

One of the most loveable things about Pondicherry is the city’s multi-dimensional name boards. The streets are so well-paved that you’d choose to walk rather than drive. And while you’re walking, you’ll come across plenty of abstract names in fancy fonts. Many a time, I stopped in my tracks to get a picture of those name boards. I didn’t know if they were shops, homes, or cultural centres, but they were all beautiful.

pondi

Trodden and Untrodden

What a year it’s been. 2016 was difficult and, yet, unforgettable for so many different reasons. This year I explored a variety of paths. Some were adventurous, some were tiring, but almost all were fun.

This year, I saw snow for the first time.

This year, I walked through forests a lot of times.

This year, I went high above sea level, looking down at massive land mass.

I’ve had cold breeze gushing behind my ears, the blinding sun warming my spine, and cooling greenery chilling my soul.

It’s been a good year.

I don’t know which path I will head off to in 2017, but I hope it’s as good as the ones in 2016.

Or better, that’s fine too.

paths

Respecting the Maker

Craft is a wonderful thing. The crinkled eyebrows, the watchful eyes, and the delicate fingers all make a craft what it is: a magnificent and complex piece of art. It demands the maker’s energy and time and unlike any other physical activity. It’s one of those things that drain you just even if you’re just sitting in one place with your head bent low.

To an observer, the craftsman is a scientist; a microbiologist. One who’s got eyes for nothing and no one around them. And that’s the beauty of a handmade object. It’s a part of a human’s life that they give away to someone else.

I saw a craftsman in Pondicherry a while ago. He was a shoe and footwear maker. He, along with the owner of the shop, makes and delivers custom footwear for customers about an hour or two after they place an order. But they also have a gallery of ready-made designs to can choose from.

handmade-footwear

While the owner was busy showing us around his little shop, the craftsman huddled with his tools near the pillar outside the shop. His eyes moved in tandem with his hands that stitched together leather and leather.

While his skin exploded with sweat, inside, the quaint shop exploded with colour. Yellow, red, and green straps crisscrossed with brown, black, and grey soles. I saw straight straps on one shelf and curled straps on the other, plain ones lying about and fancy ones folded up neat. The costs varied, too, from a few hundreds to a few more hundreds.

handmade-footwear-2

My friend raised eyebrows at the prices. It was a sad sight. Because there never is a fair price for the labour of human hands.

It’s human to first look at the product and then flip over the tag to check the price. Whether it’s a shirt or a shoe, we consider the price and weigh its worth.

It’s an instinct, yes. Still, when it comes to handmade crafts, what we think is high is never too high. Though we drool at a craftsman work, every time we roll our eyes at the price, we undermine the maker’s efforts. We need to realise: In this age of our lazy bones and sitting on our asses, it’s taxing to work through hundreds of needles and stitches every day.

craftsman

That’s why we should learn to respect the ones who do, because, in a few years, no one will have the patience to dedicate the scrutiny involved in making handmade pieces.