Meet Sarayu, 20.
A student of Electronic Media, you will recognize her from most of our pictures that have a model in them. That model is she. She is an ambidextrous artist, graphic designer and a sweet natured girl with a promising career in illustration. When I find a new flower, i send a picture of it to her and she illustrates the same in watercolours so I can catalogue it along with the actual flower. We’re preparing a detailed ‘book of flowers’ with their symbolisms and more to share. And she’s the talent behind the whole thing!
Meet Praneetha, 32.
She joined Alankaara less than a month ago when we were neck deep in paper work that caused a heavy backlog in communication. She is a Microsoft Excel Wiz and now handles stock counts, bills, invoices, auditors, lawyers and a lot of other administrative work. She keeps check on the most diminutive details of the backend operations and we’re now beginning to feel more like a well-oiled machine with a system in place.
Considering her department, I’ve never once seen a frown on her face. She constantly has a pleasant smile and has the quietest laugh you’ll ever come across.
But I’m guessing that’s a temporary thing because if past experience is any indicator, then I’ll have you know that 6 months into working at Alankaara, almost anyone turns into either a clown or an comedian. Coffee breaks become laughter therapy, poking fun at each other and discussing why salt biscuits are better than cashew cookies. I believe that Alankaara’s work culture enables this free flow of laughter and joy, or maybe it is the abundance of potted plants and flowers around us
Babu Sir – 38
Our in house Aasari/goldsmith/metalsmith whose talent runs in the family. His father of 75 owns a small unit in the city. He started working with gold and silver almost 60 years back and passed on the legacy to his son, Babu who struggled with finding his identity in the current market. I met him at Tanishq where he was fixing something for a customer who was haggling with him. I was observing him from a distance and felt his anger all from across the showroom. When the customer left, I walked up to him to chat when I noticed he was on Pinterest looking at some contemporary metalsmithing techniques with longing.
I was wearing the African Dandelion necklace that evening and he was enamoured by it to the point of asking me if I could make one for his yet to be born daughter.
In the 20 minutes I had with him, he talked about how his aim was to make pieces that were different from the mainstream, that he worked part time for Tanishq to make some ends meet and that he was really very frustrated about the work he was doing.
When i told him about Alankaara and the pieces we make, he had a child like glint in his eyes and jumped at my request to make some samples.
Well, no looking back from there because he’s now an integral part of the making of an Alankaara piece. He’s always full of ideas and there’s never a day he doesn’t wear a shirt that don’t have floral patterns on them! (except today because its temple day for him)! Quite the fashionable Aasari we’ve got ourselves!
Saiamma – 30.
This ray of sunshine has been with us for longer than I can imagine. She’s full of jokes and laughter and makes the best tea!
She’s faced some of the biggest losses one can imagine but it hasn’t dampened her spirit one bit. They say the people with the saddest hearts seem the happiest and I believe she’s a classic example of that statement.
She’s a keen learner and though she sometimes gets frustrated at not being able to perform some tasks, there is never a lack of her trying.
She’s an excellent organiser and balances my inability to keep an organised desk.
The whole studio depends on her to know where the stapler is or where the sugar is stored.
She’s the source of all laughter during tea breaks, constantly making sure everyone has been fed properly and has drunk enough water – she’s Alankaara’s very own mother!
Meet Vennila – 32
From being a quiet, timid little lady who always hunched to shrink herself to go unnoticed to the lady with the loudest laugh in the studio. That is Vennila’s journey with us. She joined us as a temp 7 months ago when we had to execute some large pieces and we needed an extra pair of hands. Her stipulated time was only 2 months but I realized how much she needed to be out of her home because she really enjoyed what she did. She has extremely nimble fingers that made her ideal to handle flowers that were extremely delicate.
She used to work at a garment export factory and the training showed in her meticulous execution of any given task. She’s a hard worker with no limits to her sense of duty. There have been days when I would be exhausted enough to give up on pressing flowers but then I watch her go on and on without tiring and I’d simply pick myself back up.
You don’t really need heroes from across the world to admire. They’re usually all around you.