Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Next stop: Vadodara and Ahmedabad, Gujrat

Lunch courtesy of Mrs. Mala Sinha, served on Eco plates!

After some obstacles getting a train ticket to Ahmadabad, we finally got on the 5:00 a.m. train and slumped into a slumber for a few hours before our final destination. From Ahmadabad, we were driven to Vadodara, thanks to Mrs. Mala Sinha, where we were greeted by a scrumptious late lunch and chai.

Our mission to travel to Vadodara, or Baroda, was only and only to meet Mrs. Mala Sinha of BODHI. I had contacted her while doing my Masters and she was wonderful enough to reply with an awesome and heartfelt response. So, of course, I had to go meet her. :) Even with all the hurdles along the way and the temptation to stay back in Pipar City for a wedding, we made our way to her workshop and left with a great feeling.

Mrs. Sinha took out her time to show us around her facility and even more, engage us in a dialogue about our decision to start Ichcha.  She truly was a special person with whom we got the opportunity to meet and spend a few hours with. Check out her website here.
Mrs. Sinha is the mind behind the wonderful designs of Bodhi. She has worked through the years to bring Bodhi to the current day stage, where the products are made with environmental awareness. Waste water management, use of solar energy, and rain water harvesting are a few actions followed by Mrs. Sinha and her team of artisans to create beautifully responsible products.

The next day, after another round of confusion, we caught the local bus to Ahmadabad, a ride of 2.5 hours. Over the next 3 days we explored Ahmadabad and also met with SEWATFC, Self Employed Women's Association Trade Facilitation Center, a non profit organization.  They work with embroidery, tie & dye, and block printing artisans throughout Gujarat. They have 3,500 share holders of women artisans.  The product is sampled, then redistributed in kits with materials and instructions to various officers at artisan villages, who then discuss, teach, and hand out the kits to the artisans to create the product in mass quantity. The quality of products was very impressive.

Our visit to Ahmadabad was complete with visits to the luscious Parimal and Law Garden, along with the Mohandas Gandhi Ashram. At the end of the day we retired into our beds after having a Gujarati thali (lots and lots of food!). 

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