I continue to be astounded by the craftsmanship that is so alive and thriving in this day and age… surrounded by appliances, machines and all things that automate our lives to make it easier and at the other end you find people painstakingly sewing a beautiful dress for a two year old…. or making a terrarium in a tiny glass jar that becomes a beautiful pendant.
My hubby is so eager and enthusiastic whenever I describe to him these little timber trays I have imagined I must have to present my soaps.
So here, in Vadodara, I asked my Dad two days ago if there is a carpenter near by who would make me these trays. And I was really surprised when he said yes.
We walked down to this humble shop 300 meters down from our home.
I was looking around as we walked and noticed this broken clay pot on the road ….
Having grown up in India, I am very familiar with the clay pot that is in many households, even rich ones. It keeps the water cool and I think it is healthy too. The clay would act as a natural filter I imagine.
At the shop, we are describing what we want… we choose teak and I give the dimensions… Dad kept challenging them and insisted that we see some samples before commissioning 30 pieces. “Bring the soap here, so we can test it. ”
Clearly, my father has a lot of faith in my ability to measure 😉
Back home, I give the soap to Dad. He looks at it. He has his feet up on the sofa. After a while he says, “Yes, these dimensions will work”.
Ahem. It is a new found skill after all, so I guess the incredulous realisation that I can measure accurately is well founded!!!
I walked down to the shop later that afternoon to see the two prototypes Mr Smartie created for me. He was so excited to see me… “here they are”, grinning from ear to ear.
I loved them. I had my iPhone with me because I wanted some pics.
“Can I take a pic of you to share the story?”
“No” he says. “Why would you want that?” ”
Can I just take one of your hands while you are working on these?”
“No. You might cut off my hands then, like the people who worked on the Taj Mahal”.
I burst out laughing. “Do I look like Aurangzeb!!?” I retorted, laughing!
It wasn’t even Aurangzeb.. I forget the history lesson 😉
Any way, no photos of the craftsman then.
I do have photos of the trays and of course I had to see how these looked with soaps in them.
I took those along to Mr Smartie so he could see what he has created….
“Ah, these are soaps?”
“And you make them?”
“I take some milk, add lye, mix it all up with oils and voila!”
“And you send them overseas?”
“No, I make them overseas.”
“How much do they cost?”
“I will bring you one. I have one of these – pointing to the clay & loofah one.”
“Yes, that is the nicer one.”
“Bring two” This was a guy standing next to Mr Smartie.
“We will try them and see how they are” … unabashedly mimicking a good lather up with the soap!