Mumbai Diary

In danger of dying: a thing of beauty #MondayMusings

Daughter No 1 was in town and wanted to visit the Bhau Daji Lad Museum at Byculla. For those of you who don’t know it, this is a delightful museum city museum located in, of all the places, Mumbai’s zoo ! Long before it became famous and fashionable, my daughters and I would regularly visit this quaint museum with its collection of things from everyday life. (I actually used to think it was a repository for other people’s junk till it was lovingly restored under the able stewardship of Ms. Tasneem Mehta, the museum’s current Director).

The Museum organises several cultural events and this weekend was our last chance to see handicrafts made by artisans and craftsmen from India.

Now we all know that a  handicrafts exhibitions is a pseudonym for  tacky, crude and  often poorly made artefacts  but this exhibition was different : the stalls had exquisite stuff, well finished and designed  with a modern sensibility and an aesthetic that makes you proud to know that they are MADE IN INDIA. They weren’t just objects, but things of beauty that took your breath away.

I particularly loved the lamps and decorative items made by Jagadish of Jaggusays. Made out of material like dried leaves , onion skin and pencil shavings, his artistic creations have another worldliness about them with their delicate and fragile beauty.

I can go on and on about all the exquisite pieces that I saw. These craftsmen had come from all over India and were hoping to make a little money on objects that had taken hours to make.

How many hours must go into these handicrafts so lovingly made with skills that have been passed on and nurtured through generations? Monday MusingsMany of these craftsmen have children who want to abandon their traditions and go on to getting an education that will make them “employable” and land up either as clerks or low level office staff. I want to go out and tell them NOT to turn their backs on what is so obviously a God givenskill. Don’t you think these crafts deserve to be protected, nurtured and kept alive?  Don’t these people’s talent deserve recognition and due value? 

Sadly, in our homes these days,  utility and practicality have replaced beauty with  plastic and mass produced .

Isn’t this a shame?

I’m linking this up with #Monday Musings on The Bespectacled Mother


Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. Such a stunning exhibition! Please feature names of individual craftsmen e.g. Kilim carpets, Asha Ram the woodworker… 🙂

    1. Corinne, most of these craftsmen have been sponsored by 100Hands, a Bangalore based NGO supporting traditional crafts. May be you could track down when and where they would be exhibiting next. I was told that they will visit Mumbai again in October for the Paramparik exhibition which will be at the World Trade Centre

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