My Friend – Wow yaar! That wall hanging is so pretty, so artistic!
Me - I know right?
My Friend - I had seen a similar one at Natasha’s place, a bit less artistic but very expensive. This one must have drilled holes in your pocket na! *She giggles*
Me - *Puzzled* Really? I paid just 4000 for this one.
My Friend – Are you kidding me! *Shocked* hers was for 9k after she bargained!
Me – She must have bought it from showroom for sure.
Guys, this is a true story, and believe me it happens with a lot of people. Now the question you would have is why I said she must have bought it from a showroom right? But before I give you the answer I need to tell you something else. Being from Orissa, my living room looks nothing less than some artist’s exhibition room. From Cuttack Silver filigree to Patachitra, from Tarakaama to peepili handicraft, from Madhubanni paintings to Taala Chitra you name it and we have it all. But would you believe me if I said we never bought any of it from showrooms?
My Mom and Dad believe in going to the roots and checking the plant literally. Every time we go to Puri they make a point to stop by a village called Peepili or Raghurajpur and buy the work only after visiting the craftsman’s house and spending time admiring the work rather than just paying for something that you won’t pay heed to until it is appreciate by someone. When I was very small and had visited Raghurajpur with my parents I had asked Maa why we didn’t buy the Radha Krishna Patachitra from Puri itself and why we travelled to this village only for that thing. My Mom had said that these people put their soul into their work and sell it to people who care only for money, so if we buy things from moneymakers and not art-creators we are not respecting the art in anyway. What is the use of paying so much then? It literally left an impact on me that day.
When I saw the half story of the artists of Raghurajpur I couldn’t stop myself from writing about this incident. A couple of years back I had taken a friend of mine shopping in Bhubaneswar and she had selected a Taalachitra wall hanging which the shopkeeper said was RS. 3000. Since we were visiting Puri the next day I didn’t let her buy it and next day she got a better wall Hanging from Raghurajpur for RS.1800 with tea and stories free of cost. The artist told us shopkeepers would have taken it for 1200 or 1500 max and sold it for 3000 or 4000 easily in the shops and my friend and I were staring at each other.
The intermediate shopkeepers no doubt keep a huge margin for themselves and the artist work weeks on an art to hardly earn anything. If we could setup a direct portal for these artists to sell things to people it would not only help them get their works worth but get us our desired article at a much lower rate also. It would be a win win situation for all, except the money minded mediators. Only if tradition would meet technology, would this be possible. I always wanted to see the artists of Orissa flourish more and given more credits for their work, than what they get now. And after seeing the attempt made by the Do Right Initiative of TATA Capital, the least I could do is let people know what the reality is and help someone deserving rather than the middleman Natasha emptied her pocket for.
Their Half Story :