Happy Independence Day, India! I’ve talked before about why I think special days to celebrate people and things are important, and our Independence day is one of those occasions. One doesn’t think of one’s country and patriotism on a regular day-to-day basis, and anyway, patriotism has become a slightly unfashionable, slightly tainted word, what with all the wars being waged over land and beliefs. And this is something that’s intensely personal to people, so I’m not trying to preach, but to me, patriotism is simply love for one’s country. And this doesn’t mean that I’m blind to all the issues our country faces, nor that I agree with a lot of things that are still happening today. Remember the old phrase – ‘You like someone because of; you love someone in spite of’? Even though I’ve lived away from home for quite a few years, I still consider myself an Indian.
When you think about it, a lot of who you are is based on your country. There are things that I swear I’ve picked up through osmosis, from my sideways-Indian-head-nod (which is vague enough to mean either yes or no, depending on your mood!) to my ability to use cellotape to fix almost anything. There are more concrete things, like the way I automatically sit cross-legged on the floor – anywhere!- or try and eat everything without cutlery. And while living in Zurich has left it’s mark on me – I persist in pronouncing IKEA ee-kay-ah and not eye-kee-ah – essentially, I’m still Indian. And I don’t see the need to apologise for it, or be ashamed of it.
I love India. I love how more than a billion people coexist (sometimes less peacefully than others, but still) with different languages and religions. I love walking down Brigade Road or Commercial Street back home and hearing vendors screech over the car horns. I love all our festivals, and how life is so colourful and vibrant. I love the monsoons in Bangalore, in spite of the slush. I love the endless days of summer, where time is only measured based on which mango is currently in season. It’s not me romanticising because I’ve been away so long. But something inside of me just… settles, every time my flight touches down on Bangalore soil.
Today’s PwP celebrates the wonderful topsy-turviness of being Indian. My first instinct was to use the flag for inspiration, but then I began thinking a little differently. I’ve always loved our national animal – the tiger – and I made a pair of Tigresa earrings ages ago. Our national bird is the peacock, and I’ve lost track of how many pieces both K and I have made in those beautiful shades. And look, here’s a new piece, just in time for Independence day!
The lotus is our national flower, and I just realised I’ve never used a lotus as inspiration. Way past time to correct that oversight!
I wanted an ethnic but streamlined look, and the ornate bud-like separator and Swarovski crystals gave me exactly the look I wanted.
However, design being such an iterative process, I wasn’t able to get the look I was going for. I was trying to create a square-knot weave using silver beading wire and the Swarovskis, but that got very messy very fast. Then I changed up my separator and brought in a fan separator that could accommodate 5 strands, and tried to make a patterned bracelet, but nothing was really working the way I wanted it to!
When that happens, my usual strategy is to stop fighting with the materials, and just let them show you what they want to be.
So often, simpler is orders of magnitude better! And you can see the pattern I wanted that wasn’t working as the bracelet. Not that it was smooth sailing. The fan is curved, so it took a lot of whittling away at those headpins to get the pattern onto the fan intact.
All those little shiny spots on my work space? Tiny bits of trimmed headpins!
But I really enjoy the way they turned out – with so much movement and the pattern is perfect!
I’ve put up this picture a good friend of mine took. I had it in my office for four years in Zurich. It somehow always gives me a shiver when I look at it.
I’m proud of so many things that Indians have done, and Indians have stood for. And while a lot of people say there is no hope, and, “Things will always be like this”, I just look at my friends, and my sister’s friends, and I know there is hope. If our pasts truly define us, I think we Indians have things well in hand.