The sun rose over the horizon in Zura. The cattle were being herded into the grasslands. Children went to school. Farmers were already at work in the fields. I sat by the door of my house, sipping my morning tea. Taking in the sunlight and sounds of the day’s early hours. I would sit to work soon.
I am a bell maker. But unlike many others, for me it has not been a craft handed down through the years. It was my father who first picked it up. He saw a wonderful avenue in it. The Maldharis were traditionally our buyers. There were not many expenses and I along with my father did well. Years later, we saw a rapid decline in the livestock. We had to search for new opportunities for work. We however managed to stay in bell making.
We never used to think or see copper bell as an accessory in homes. We always thought that copper bells are used by the maldhari’s for their cattle and camel livestock. Even today majority of the artisans in this craft do not see it as an art. It will take time and interventions before we can reach that stage.
I liked the freedom I can get through this craft. We used to wonder what people in Delhi have to do with copper bells. We used to take one design in sizes 1 to 8. But there we saw people come and show lots of interest in bells and buy it for their homes. They used to give lots of suggestions also in terms of design inputs and sounds. It’s those exposures in exhibitions which brought in changes in copper bells designs and sounds and also helped in marketing and sales skills and what information people like to hear about the bells. I would like to innovate and bring in new product range in copper bells.
Today, as we continue to get orders, I find the growth amongst us bell makers to be slow. I want us to reach a level in design as other crafts. As I rinse my teacup and sit down to work I think of the award I won. An award for the sa-re-ga-ma product that I created.