Its my last day in Jaipur. By the time you read this, I will be in New York City. Until then though, there is a heap of work to be done. Yet the factory is not quite ready to show me samples. Prekshya asks me to come by in the afternoon when she will have some earrings and pendants ready. (I leave for the airport at 5.) I also want the Afghans (Adina, Suraya and Said) who worked on drawings with me to come to the factory and see their inspirations at work, as well as any other Afghans (I’m thinking specifically of Samim who has been dedicated to learning as much as he can) who want to witness the collection come into being since it will ultimately be theirs. Its a fascinating process even to me as I’ve never worked with a factory, nor have I ever put together a collection this quickly.) I ask Marouf to rally whoever wants to be there to meet at 3.
After a slow morning packing up, I realize I cannot fit the two bedspreads I purchased to bring home. My suitcase is at capacity, stuffed with wax, wax carving tools, files, saws, drawing pads, pens, paints etc. I’d lugged them along, thinking I’d have a chance to work one-on-one with the students but it somehow never worked out that way. There was always some other plan to thwart mine, and then it was Ramadan for which they all went home at 2:30, cutting the short days even shorter. I call Mr Bhati who truly is a problem solver. He has a solution to everything, and knows Jaipur like the back of his hand. He tells me to meet him at Jaipur’s equivalent of Walmart (please remember the toll station in the previous post so that your imagination doesn’t run wild). He and Nicky meet me at the shop where I pick up a fabulous wheeled cheaply-priced carry-on (let your imagination flourish here – it truly is great. I happen to love luggage design and this one’s a functional beauty) and stuff the spreads inside. I happily hand over my wheeled backpack to Nicky who is on her way to the Kayavarohan temple the next day. She is charged with transforming the ashram there to the cleanest, most well-maintained one in India. If anyone can do it, she can.
The three of us, Nicky, Mr Bhati and I, have a last lunch at Anokhi (that has its own organic farm providing vegetables for its cafe). I am sad for a myriad of reasons. Nicky is a Sister in every way and the little bit of time I’ve had with her in Jaipur has been full of laughter, tears of truth, transformation. I will miss her. Mr Bhati too. A lovely, kind and patient soul. I then head to the factory, a long dusty drive to the outskirts of the city.
Another mishap of planning with the students. At 3 pm, Marouf tells me they are on their way. Adina, Said, Samim and Halazenah. (Suraya has decided not to come. Its a disappointment as she had potential. But much hope had been placed on her young shoulders, plenty attention has been given to her and perhaps it has gone to her head.) I work along with Prekshya, fine-tuning hooks, chains, finishes, etc. waiting for the Afghans to arrive. An hour later, I call Marouf. He tells me they are at the factory. There is no sign of them however. Marcus arrives. He will accompany me to the airport. The clock is ticking, there is still plenty to be done, and still no sign of the Afghans.
WORKING WITH PREKSHYA AND HER TEAM
A REVERSIBLE LAPIS PENDANT WITH THE 8-POINT STAR AND AN AFGHAN NURISTANI SCREEN INSPIRATION
THE SAID STAR PENDANT ON HALAZENAH’S TURQUOISE AND ON LAPIS BEADS
Finally, with 10 minutes to spare, Samim appears outside of the door. He tells me the two women at reception has sent them to the back of the factory where they say I have been working. Total misinformation. He summons the others into Prekshya’s office. I give them a quick overview. Adina and Said see their drawings alongside an actual metal pendant that has come into being as inspired by their work on paper. I am sorry I don’t have more time with them. I believe these four are the future of the Future Brilliance Afghanistan Organization, FBAO, the foundation of Aayenda, the new jewelry line. (Photos to come.)
THE FUTURE OF FUTURE BRILLIANCE:
(Forgive me if I have left out any others…)