Venue: Dilli Haat
From the heavy traffic trying to make its way to Dilli Haat, one knows that it is time for Delhi to get crafty again as the Dastkar Mela is being held here. Dastkar Mela represents a wide range of crafts, traditions and styles with special emphasis on bringing traditional crafts to the cities.
The Fair this year is compact and the modern twist used by traditional craftsmen (lac craft traditionally used for toys, now used for colourful bangles and décor items tike candle stands / leather craft traditionally used for puppets in shadow puppet theatre in Andhra Pradesh now used to make lamp shades, traditional Kutch shawls now being woven in the more popular scarf length) has people being drawn to the fair in large numbers. It was heartening to observe that the earlier arty crowd at the Dastkar Fairs has been replaced by the sundry Delhite who is out to enjoy the winter weather, have a good time and see something nice.
While clicking photographs, we had an amusing experience. We had taken a snap of a quilt that was hung in the stall “Brahma” (from Delhi) for our blog. The lady at the stall was attending to a customer so we did not disturb her. However, post clicking, the lady barked that we were rude to photograph her product and we should have sought her permission before clicking. There was no such notice (“photography not allowed” / “seek permission for photography”), either in her stall, or anywhere in the Fair. Hence, given that the item was on public display, as we had clicked many other products that struck our fancy, we clicked this. In contrast, however, none of the traditional craftspeople had raised any objection to their products being photographed, let alone throw a tantrum, when their goods are clicked. This is quite an interesting divergence in approach between the traditional crafts people, wearing their great skills lightly, and benign and eager to connect always, and the city based “designers”, who are insecure about their “creativity”.
The colourful Mela, the goods as well as the décor, and the random performances by folk music groups, are doing their bit to brighten the present dull and grey days in Delhi. This fair is a great way to start the New Year.