“I’ve always been an old school person. I like clothing stuff which is now not even available in the market. I wear my mother’s and grandmother’s sarees which are about thirty or forty years old, yet vintage. So, I’ve always had this thing in me about loving former and mature things. I like upcycling old articles because they are always superior in quality and look graceful. Every piece has its elegance.
I was always inclined about art, wanted to talk to artists to explore the nitty-gritty of it but my full-time job made me procrastinate all the time. And then I hit a rough patch in my life and I realized that I need to focus my energy somewhere else. I wanted to start my own venture but when you’ve responsibilities you really don’t look at that side of life. Since everybody’s at home due to the pandemic, it had started as a lockdown project. It eventually started in a way that I’d focus on the handicraft or the art forms that are lost these days or we’re leaving behind. It includes tradition, lifestyle, habits, etc. which are very useful and vital for a sustainable lifestyle.
My point was to list down the old art forms, talk about them because, for us, social media is the new learning channel. I wanted people to get a snippet about it and know that there’s something like this that exists. There are so many things people don’t know about their own culture. So, the more we talk about it, the more it will spread and eventually stay alive. I’m a person who strongly believes that art has no boundaries. So when I started Long Lost Tales, I knew I’d talk to artists from across the world. Another motive was to promote small scale artisans who have very limited access to the world but their skills are remarkable. I started doing some live sessions with people from across the globe.
As consumers, we have a very different mindset. It might be just a Kalamkari dupatta for us but the hard work and efforts that have been put into it are known by none except the people who’re very fond of art. Now, when people are slowly getting aware of it, they don’t even bargain; they just pay whatever is asked because they know it’s real value. This makes me truly happy because this hard work also demands a reward.
For the artisans, middlemen are a big problem. I spoke to a young girl from Chamba. She told me that Chamba’s handkerchief is a very fine art form and has great value. It was sold at high prices earlier but the value has decreased now. A great amount of money is taken by middlemen and the artisans earn very little. I was shocked to hear this. I thought my initiative can also become a platform for such people who put in so many efforts but don’t receive what they deserve.
If any artist is benefitted through my platform, I’ll be more than happy. I’ve given back to society in some way or the other. I’ve no monetization model in my head. I don’t want anything from them. All I want is to support and promote them.
Usually, I keep talking to people around the globe. The reason being, while everybody is covering India, I wanted to tell people that every country is inspired by one another. There should be different sources of inspiration. Different art forms from different countries can inspire us in many ways. Our curious mind can lead us to many wonders.
In this pandemic, artisans are most affected. I wanted to provide a platform to them as another channel of exposure and recognition so that they can get benefits and aid their earnings. I get really happy when people come and tell me that they want to get in touch with these artisans and how they can promote their work in many ways. I’d say I became a mediator that is happy to help.
Though everything is available on the internet these days, there are still some points which people don’t know. Our young generation should know about art in its true form. People have started merging art with the latest technologies and modernization, which hides the true identity of the same and it does not yield good results as well. They should know what our culture holds and that too in its purest form. Till now, I’ve connected with people and talked about the traditions of Mithila, the Peruvian textiles, the Huichol tribe, and much more.
It has been a great struggle to connect with people but there are still good people out there in the world who stand out for help. I have always tried my best to contact the people who have been connected to the roots. It becomes a struggle to screen out what they do, how they do it, and what is it all about. I think people who love art, they’ll never say a ‘no’ to it. They really want this message to go out and spread its wings, that it is the high time to revive these art forms before they vanish away. I definitely want to connect to people who have some ancestral stories and they want these stories should reach out to the world. There are generally millennials on social media.
This initiative has proved to be a stress-buster for me. I look forward to talking to more and more different people. While I do these I don’t even bother about time. I’m usually so much indulged in knowing about different skills and art, researching all about it and that indeed gives me pleasure. The best part is I get to know so many new things. Being an art lover, I had brought kalamkari sarees and other things but didn’t know a thing as simple as jaggery was required for making it. I get to explore so many beautiful things. Also, I appreciate the fact that some people take that leap of faith in me and appreciate me.
I just want to say that there is no right time or age to start something new. Whenever a thought pops up in your head, that is the right time and just put yourself completely into it. Life goes on. It is up to you how exciting you make it for yourself. Take one step at a time but make sure that step takes you forward. The young generation today, is moving towards a very fast-paced world. They might be missing out on a lot of traditional things that they should not leave behind. There are certain things that our ancestors have brought into existence for a reason. They have some kind of significance in our lives.
While we are running with the world, we should not forget where we’ve come from. What are our cultures, traditions, and how were they brought into existence should be known to the world. It’ll not only increase our knowledge but also keep us connected to our roots.”
*The views expressed in the above article are of the writer and not Winged Club.