“Being a full-time IT professional, born into a family of doll-makers, I try my best to keep the art form alive by participating in the annual Golu sale that happens during Navarathri. It’s a hard juggle of course, but the seasonal business adds to the family income by a great extent and I therefore try and dedicate a considerable amount of time on the weekends, helping my family set up our stall on the famous streets of Mylapore.
It is a fun ride, those ten days, when crowds flock in from all over the city, trying their best to strike a deal and take home, a doll of their choice. While the craftsmanship and the intricacy in each piece is appreciated widely, the same people often end up bargaining for less than half of the price quoted, knowing fully that most of us wouldn’t be able to deny our customers. What they do not realize though, is the sad truth that, us, small vendors put in so many man-hours towards the making of each figurine and every penny, therefore, contributes directly to the food on our plates.
I guess somewhere, there’s also this psychological aspect of not bargaining when the same products are placed on a shelf in a retail outlet versus being displayed directly on the corner of the road. As sad as it might sound, the reality boxes us artisans, in turn, driving us only further from the craft. The number of people from my family previously involved in the business was way more, than what it is today.
And this is mainly due to the lack of profitable margins that a trader witnesses at last. So I hope at least in the years to come, the government steps in to standardize the rates of festive-centric products, thereby aiding both, the livelihoods of thousands of craftsmen and adding to the demand in these fields. In the end, it’s important that celebratory times bring a smile equally, to all the players in an economy, right?”