You may wonder why is the landing page of this website a close up of a copper surface. Quite rightly so, your curiosity!
I am born and brought up in Pune, and this city has a very special place in my heart, with all it’s cultural & heritage aspects unique to what makes Pune the city that it is in art, theatre and so much more. Take for example the ‘puneri paatya’ – boards with small, curt sentences with a very typical dry Puneri humour and I could perhaps just write a whole separate blog later, on “My Pune”
Copper in Marathi (the local language) is Tamba and the name for the area comes from there. As late as in May 2015, for the first time I visited the #Tambat Aali – the coppersmiths’ alley – near Shaniwarwada and ever since then, this Pune specific craft has enamoured me. Even as I say it to you, the sonorous sounds of the craftsman’s hand beating the metal down in the ‘mathar kaam’ is what I can hear! The precision of the hammertone is unbelievable and the kind craftsmen almost seemed meditative to me. I could imagine how Rumi may have discovered his spiritual moment in front of a metal worker’s shop in Medina!
My granny used to have these huge water containers for bath called ‘ghanghaala’, other ones that heated up the water in a contraption called the ‘bamba’ and separate ones for the kitchen in her village home, which she would get polished and keep them gleaming always. It was something of a curiosity as a child for me whenever I visited her! If you follow me on instagram you would know that I do have Proustian bend of mind at times.
To share with you, brass and copper craft flourished here in the Peshwa era. The tambat community came into recognition about 400 years ago and originated from the Konkan region. They were a part of an old social system known as the ‘Bara Balutedars’ and their role was to fulfill the religious, economic and military needs of the Peshwas. Right from copper coins, decorative and kitchen utensils to religious, coronation paraphernalia and military weapons, much was made here and traded.
Last year in November, I went back there to know more and meet one of the pioneering craftsmen working here since 1971, a gentleman by the name Bhalchandra Kadu. His insight and his passion for his craft was so palpable that I think some of that vibe I needed to carry back within me. I was kind of hooked to this texture and gleam of the metal, knowing where the fancy stuff at Good Earth, Coppre and other places comes from, directly or indirectly! So much learning and inspiration right here in aamche Pune that I could not but love the energy and vibe of the metal and the way it came on my camera. It inspired some stuff within me I think. That’s when and where I decided to pick this very local, hand – touched craft picture as the one that means emotional much to my digital identity, driving in so much of all that I believe in, to be spoken of.
Dedicating my website’s landing page to this copper craft is my little tribute to the indigenous design, the local, artisanal craft that I find truly special in Pune and elsewhere!
#handicrafts #coppersmiths #spiritual #design #pune #local #artisanal