I remember winters as a child. Home, school, play and work filled our days. We would often be hustled off to workshop while we were playing. Our family was involved with the art of Ajrakh. It was imperative that we learn and carry forward our family’s art. After all it was going to become our lives. Lending a helping hand here and there as children, we picked up the art.
It was fairly easy when we began, as our family was well established. We had a base from which we could grow. Our family name takes us places. It would be difficult however if any of us decided to move away from this.
Damadka to Ajrakhpur was a difficult move. With my childhood spent there, my heart was there, it was a hard move. Dhamadka had its problems too. A lot was uncertain. Ajrakpur seemed as if it was all set for us. While it grows slowly, I would say only ten percent of the work has happened. As things move on at its pace, we need to make the best of it. Manage things as they come, rains, strikes, meeting deadlines. Sometimes we may even have to cancel an order. We depend on the rains. Earlier things were taken for granted. Now people are more aware. I travel for exhibitions too. I have done around twenty around India and I have been to Frankfurt, too. While the international market demands natural dyes, a larger part of the Indian market prefers chemical dyes.
The art is in our blood. Back in the day each community was known for something. We Khatris are known for Ajrakh. The meaning lies in our name Khatri, that means color and to remove color. Many leave as well. The conditions may not be favorable to them
As we hold on to tradition, we innovate as well. Every year we see a new change, a development. I want to see the art continue and live through the generations to come.