A Journey to Fulzar

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i want to thank for the wamrth, love and care that fulzar was filled with. for giving us important lessons, which our three faculties did. for the most precious time spent with all my friends for love, lessons, and friendship, that perfect blend. lots of love to gobar bhai and his family

- geet saini



introduction preconceived notion curious eyes home 3 sisters clay potter learning

contents



introduction



As designers we always talk about empathy, putting ourselves in the shoes of others, experiencing everything first hand, doing everything hands-on, learning by doing, etc, etc, In this course, I truly understood the meaning of these words. This course was an eye-opener and one of the few courses which I won’t forget ever. This course started with a journey from Ahmedabad to Village Fulzar, Rajkot. we stayed in a temple, called Ghela Somnath in Jasdan, Rajkot. Every day, we traveled back and forth from the temple to the village.

In this course, we were supposed to spend 5 days in Fulzar and observe the village, the people and their day to day lives. But This course gave a lot more than that. It created sensitivity towards a lot of things, It helped to appreciate and be thankful for my food, to the environment I am blessed with, to almost everything. It generated a sense of gratitude and humility in me. I think maybe that was the actual hidden objective behind this course.



preconceived notion



From the very childhood, our conditioning, and upbringing lead the huge pile of our preconceived notions about almost everything and everyone. Likewise, before even entering the village Fulzar, we all had our preconceived notions on how the village functions, how people in the village lead their day to day life, how they dress, their living standards, eating habits, socializing skills, and what not. Maybe we think too much.

I had spent some time in villages, and maybe that’s why my notions were much more rigid than the person who is looking at the village for the first time. On one hand, my experience in the village gave some clarity on how to approach different people and helped me to build a strong bond with people in Fulzar, on the other, it blinded me to look at a larger picture, which I got to know from my friends later in some discussions. Nonetheless, these precious 5 days in Fulzar, helped to break some on my notions and it builds some new ones.



curious eyes



As we entered the village with sunglasses on, riding on our chaghdas, trying to be curious enough, we stood face to face with Fulzar. This was our first day in the village. But, the village people seemed more curious than us. Not even the people even the cattle seem to identify that we were outsiders. Every person was curious to know our purpose of visiting their village. Even we didn’t know the proper answer. Fulzar not only showed tremendous curiosity in us but also helped us to build our own towards them,



home



From the very first day, we all started observing the architecture of the village. We started to observe people living in those houses. On the very first day, the thing that bugged me was there were groups of houses which look slightly different from one another, as days passed I could see a clearer picture. The houses, doors, windows even the ceilings were different and they point towards the socio-economic structure of the people living in those houses.

For example houses with a concrete ceiling, painted walls, big metal doors are of a higher class population like Maaldhari, On the other hand, houses with slanted tiled roofs, walls without plaster or paint, small metal or wooden doors belong to the relatively lower class population like Koli. This divide in the village was subtle but present.



3 sisters



This is a story of 3 sisters. Pushpa Dimple and Latha. I got to know about them from a friend Manasvini, while we had a group discussion. These girls portray the tremendous amount of courage every day. Not only they dream but put in everything they have to achieve it, each day. One of them was preparing for police entrance exams, on top of that they run a sweet shop, a beauty parlor, they are into textile design, they do mehndi design and what not. With such limited resources, they are trying to achieve so much, their effort put me and a lot of city kids to d=shame, who are always cribbing about not having enough.

We, in general, make a lot of excuses , we always try to blame everything around us and try to escape a difficult situation, but looking at these girls not only made me feel miserable about my way of looking a things but also inspired me to do more, to push more, to get things done. Looking at them, I felt a sense of gratitude towards what I have the exposure, resources, and opportunities I have to pursue and achieve what I want to. I developed a huge amount of respect for them and for the life that I am blessed with.

3 sisters



clay



This story starts with the second day we reached in the village and saw Gobar Bhai, the potter making his art. Maybe he doesn’t see it as an art, to him, it is a source of income. But I looked at it a little differently. Coming from a fine arts background I realize the importance of this art in people’s lives. What he was creating was not some piece made out of clay, I saw happiness getting molded into a shape, then baked and then colored with geru.

For example houses with a These pieces he was creating called Grabo, had a huge importance at the time of Navratri when all the ladies of that village put a Diya inside that pot and put this pot on their head and perform Garba. The effort Gobar Bhai puts in while making these Garbo was turned into something thing auspicious at the time of Navratri.



potter



Moving from the story of 3 sisters who were rebellious, out-spoken and aspire to be something else, I noticed a stark contrast in Gobar Bhai. Gobar Bhai is a potter living with his wife, two sons, 1 daughter-in-law, and 2 grandchildren. I have hardly seen anyone so calm and composed. He was happy in what he has, maybe age also plays a role. But he was not complaining about anything. Make the most out of everything to his disposal. He was not bothered by anything, not even by our presence. He kept doing his work. There was something about this man which I could relate to. He was creating art. Maybe be he didn’t consider himself to be an artist, but I saw magic in what he was creating. He was crafting happiness with clay. Each time he spun that wheel and made that piece he was, as if, putting smile someone’s face. He is a hard-working man, from dawn till dusk he was working.

Making those pots to be used in Navratri. He colored those pots with geru and then baked them in his furnace. The smoke of that furnace was burning my eyes when I was present, but he was working effortlessly. I also noticed what true love is. He is in his 70’s so he need help in certain tasks, like carrying baked pieces back to the workshop, in that his wife helps him. She carried most amount of piece weighing no less than 20 kgs at once, on her head. I noticed Maldhari people, Jhapadiya people, Koli people, people from different caste coming to his workshop, sitting there and chatting. Smoking beedis. From children to elderly, people of any age, hanging in his workshop. And even after so much “disturbance”, he was able to get his work done. At his workshop, I felt the warmth, not for me, but in the environment. Everything was pure and honest.



learning



My learning from this course was completely different when I see other courses. The number of intangible skills or soft skills I learned during this course was incomparable. Not only that, I learned to respect. Respect what I have, I strongly developed a sense of gratitude towards everything. I value my parents, my loved ones, my friends, my teachers, my college, my food, and the opportunities I have even more now. Fulzar seeded humility in me. Made me more grounded than I was. Made me humble. Fulzar taught me empathy, and maybe that’s my first step towards my design education.