'Aaj Mausam Bada Beimnaan Hai Badaa ... ' September 18 2013, 0 Comments

The best time to be in Jaipur, for me, is right after the monsoon. 

It's still very hot, more balmy than hot. It' s intensely green and the heat is interrupted by random light showers and abrupt thunder storms. 

But the best thing about this season, is that the workshops are on fire.

Everyone is back to work, as things can finally dry. And not unlike the feeling of coming back from vacation, everyone is pretty excited to see each other again.

All, except Ajit ... Ajit always walks into the office without knocking first, he grunts and casually slumps into a chair and starts staring across the room, hoping to see what new samples I am working on that he can criticize.

Picking up a wooden plate I had just had made he shakes his head and tsks to himself, 'not perfect ...' 

I ignore him. I always do. I usually don't even look up, as I am generally annoyed at this point by his aloof tardiness. 

Ajit begins to taunt .... 'not perrrfecttt...' 

I get annoyed, without looking up I ask him where my production is that I ordered 6 months before...

'No money, no production'. 

Now my temperature rises.  I try to keep my cool, and coldly ask what he's done with the down payment I gave him with the order...six months ago.

The cold war begins, Ajit attacks, I attack back, quietly, no voices rising, no eye contact made, just passive aggressive banter. 

Our relationship has been this way since I was 21. I worked with Ajit on several projects for Munnu ji and developed a rapport that I don't have with any of the other artisans. 

You see, as unreliable as he can be with timing or costing, the man is really very good at what he does. He loves his craft, and trains the team that works with him with precision. He also has a sharp eye, and enjoys more than anything to develop a piece. To work on it until the lines and curves are perfect and in proportion to the design.

I've learned a lot from Ajit over the years. Patience first and foremost, and to enjoy the process of developing a product. 

This time our argument escalated and I jump out of my chair. In order to calm myself I start to arrange the office bouquet in bitter silence.

Ajit slowly rises, walks towards me, stomach first, and begins to arrange the flowers as well.

'Ok, ok, now I show you sample'... 

He opens his magic bag and pulls out my samples, my hurt pumps, adrenaline takes over and all is at peace again.

Nur 

(Images courtesy of ecru)