“I have a distinct memory of my grandfather taking me to his home and teaching me how to make these bamboo chairs and baskets. For the basket makers’ community in UP and Rajasthan, these skills were mandatory to learn. Men and women were taught to perfect the art of making these baskets and other varieties right from their childhood.
However, as the generations progressed, people moved out of this community profession and ventured into various other fields.
But luckily, I was able to master this skill from my family. After my Intermediate, I moved out of my village and traveled to different cities to do and promote the traditional makeshift bamboo basketry business. So far, I have traveled across 10 states in India and it’s been more than a year since I moved to Hyderabad for a living.
When I came here, I was pleasantly surprised to see the cosmopolitan nature of the people. And honestly, my business was picking up slowly until the beginning of March. But the Covid-19 lockdown and pandemic have certainly shattered all my dreams. I wanted to support my family and buy a small house in my hometown at Fatehpur Sikri this year.
I worked hard and had woven more than five hundred bamboo chairs and stools keeping in mind the summer season.
Generally, there is a demand for these chairs every year during the summer, but with lockdown in place, I was not able to sell even twenty bamboo chairs which are normally sold in the price range of Rs. 300 – Rs. 700 based on the preferred shapes and sizes.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, things have become extremely difficult for us to make our ends meet. Since we are migrated from Rajasthan to do this business, we don’t have adequate documents or ration cards to avail of government benefits.
In the first few weeks of lockdown, some people came and handed over food packets to us, but they later forgot us. I have no answer when my father asked if I am able to do any business. Ours is a joint family and we are struggling every day to earn a living. In the current situation, we can only hope for a better tomorrow and I hope things get better soon.”
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