An Object That Makes A Difference
By Akta Adani
When I moved from India to United States, I went through an emotional roller coaster of curating the things I wanted to keep. A lot of the things I kept, made me nostalgic and I realized that these objects tell our personal histories as well. A sentimental T-shirt, a kindergarten drawing or a dog-eared book? What objects tell the story of your life?
We talk to our team about this and with Mannat - our operations lead it turned into an interesting conversation about that one object that tells the story of her life.
Can you share a bit more about yourself: who you are, where you're from, what you do?
I was born and raised in Amritsar, India. I am currently based in Mumbai and work at a very early stage startup.I am 26 years old, based in Mumbai. I am currently working as Creator Growth & Operations Manager.
A little bit about me - when I was ten years old, my parents sent me to boarding school in Dehradun which was absolutely the best decision ever. I learnt to be independent and from there on all decisions were left to me regarding my career and life. I have always enjoyed exploring new cities and my journey from school till now has been very adventurous. I finished my graduation from Manchester in Textile and Surface design.
There was so much that I had learnt there that I wanted to come back to India and use those techniques. I have always been working as a Textile designer. I love my work. It’s like doing what I am passionate about.
Tell me a bit about your childhood. What were you like as a child?
I am the older child and I have a sibling - my younger brother. Between the two of us, I was a very playful and bubbly child. I grew up playing sports like basketball and football. I was a classical Kathak dancer and would do stage performances for my school. I have always been very passionate about drawing and painting. Whatever free time I would sit with my sketchbook and paint.
Where did you grow up and what is your fondest memory?
I grew up in Amritsar/ Dehradun. My fondest memories of my childhood would be being able to give a solo dance performance in front of the entire school and after the performance everyone was coming and congratulating my parents and me. The pride my parents felt that day, still remains with me and makes my heart feel overwhelmed.
What do you love the most about growing up?
I’ve always been independent and strong-minded, even as a child. As naturally as an adult, the fact that I have control over my decisions, differentiate right from wrong for myself is what I love most about being an adult.
Between Amritsar and Mumbai, we’re curious about what influences your life and the items you purchase?
Both these cities have a huge impact on my life. Amritsar is home and I love that it is known for its traditional handicrafts. My fave part is to roam around the little hidden streets and finding little knick knacks from the local artisans. And as for Mumbai, it is my fashion ground - the place where I get to experiment with my style as a city girl.
Is there a specific object(s) that you cherish? And why?
I have this little bird painted on a stone which was a gift from my nanis, I still have it and reminds me how we can create something from such unexpected things.
I recently bought this pouch/wallet from a local creator in Amritsar called Assees which I am in love with at the moment. It is handmade with traditional embroidery that originates from Amritsar called Phulkari.
Can you tell us a bit more about why and what you love about it?
Phulkari is an embroidery technique started by the women of Punjab for passion and not really for sale. I love the colors and everything this craft stands for - the weaving of threads that tell stories of the women gathered together chatting and sharing their life’s joys, struggles and cooking recipes! This wallet is an object I carry with me everywhere as it is compact and fits in my handbags or even in my hands.
I confess, I even use it as a bookmark!
What makes an object or product special for you?
For me it’s all about colors. Being Punjabi whether its clothes, weddings or even walls - we are in love with bright and vibrant colors. And Phulkari objects are a reflection of who we are and where we come from - but most importantly a commonality of bright colors that every Punjabi human relates to!
Lastly, what exactly do you envision for yourself for the future?
With expertise in textile designing, and operations and a love for art I want to create art that can be used for fashion or home decor products. My mission is to make a difference in the industry by reviving age-old crafts and techniques - in a sustainable way.