Rain lashed across the land. The pitter-patter of the raindrops on the roof grew louder. Thunder rattled the windowpanes. Lightning blazed across the sky. The sky, a purple black welcomed the monsoon. This was the first of the rains. We all watched, many ran out to dance. Welcoming the rains was special to us. I sat by the doorsteps, a smile in my heart. Everyone around was happy. It was a change. The grueling reality of life pushed aside.
I was a potter and had taken after my father and grandfather. I was around 15 when I began work. Leaving school and play to help the family. As a child I used to help at work. Keeping things ready for the next day’s work, going to the market, getting kerosene. On Sundays, I used to make pots. And many times after the sun had set and I had finished school, I would sit under kerosene lamps and draw out designs on the pots. Time was demanding and money stringent. My mother then asked me to leave school, and work fulltime. I dutifully did so.
We made a living with the little we had. Our wares sold fast. Markets then thronged with earthenware. It was a time when it was used in the kitchens of Kutch. As plastic made its way into homes, we saw ourselves with very little work.
We now see better days. We began supplying to a more urban clientele; exhibitions became our main source of income. Bombay, Delhi and many other cities saw increasing demand for pottery.
Pottery is a long process. The coming generations will not continue this. It does not make sense for them to either. Here you have to do everything. But with plastic you just get it. It is different for me though. It is my ancestral work. I don’t have to go looking for work. It has already been handed down to me. I am on my own when I work and that independence is what keeps me going.
Education, I feel is very important. You educate yourself first then carry on doing whatever work in the world you please. Be it the work of your forefathers or work that you have gone out in the world to look for. It is a must for everyone.