Khavda, Gujarat 370510, India
A soulful encounter with Khavda's only potterKhavda is a village that was once home to generations of skilled potters! Ibrahim Bhai, a national award winning potter is out of town but his son Abdul is at the wheel at his home, working on a mug.
He and his father are the only ones who still practice this art, thanks to NGO support. Each vessel is shaped on a wheel, baked by the sun and coated with a thin wash of geru (red color). The potter's wife then uses a frayed bamboo twig to paint motifs in clay-based white colors.
Finished pieces lie aside, ready for drying. His wife insists we have tea, made fresh outdoors on a stove swarming with flies.
Abdul takes us to a side room in his hut where completed pieces wait to be sold in the cities. I see photographs of Ibrahim Bhai with government officials.
We pick out exquisite mugs, a plate and a bowl. We are out of cash but Abdul tells us to mail him the money. Our driver, offers to lend it to us. Giving Abdul the money, we carry our newspaper wrapped pieces to the car, wave bye to the family, and drive off, leaving behind a trail of dust.
Ibrahim and his son are talented, acclaimed artisans who live sparsely. They are welcoming, and offer us tea even if it's scarce. Despite the poverty, there is an earnest love for the craft. Caste/religion ceased to matter in a country where it is still prevalent, replaced instead by a warmth and generosity that filled me with hope.
Tip: Ibrahim's hamlet has no address. Ask anyone in Khavda for directions.