Aadyaa is a major brand in the world of fashion. I, like most people using social media had definitely seen Aadyaa’s jewelry as flaunted by many celebrities. I had come to appreciate the jewelry, its design and the styling through these pictures. But somehow, I never went beyond that; and no, beyond does not mean buying it. Buying is simply a byproduct, a natural consequence of going beyond the stage of appreciation.
It was on the platform of VEDH Katta that I was truly introduced to Aadyaa, the start-up, the enterprise, the craft and the value that it represents. Sayalee Marathe, the founder of Aadyaa was invited at VEDH katta, to share her journey. I was extremely excited to be a part of this program right since its announcement for I have always been a connoisseur of art and craft, something I have inherited from my mother. As a mother, she has accepted all my flaws, but one. She, a creator of many an art forms herself, is quite disappointed that I have taken after my father when it comes to creating art! While I am most content in the chair of a connoisseur, sometimes, I cant help but think that life would be more colorful, pun-intended, had I been able to use these typing fingers for creating something other than literary pieces.
Coming back to VEDH Katta again, I am extremely glad to say that I have gained much more from this interview than I had anticipated. Sayalee Marathe is a computer engineer by education. As she illustrated her journey from working as an engineer to becoming an established entrepreneur in the field of jewelry designing; there was a lot to learn from her- as a student, as a woman…or better as a person, and as a citizen of this country.
While listening to her, the phrase ‘student for life’ kept coming to mind. She taught me the true meaning of education vis a vis its narrow, more colloquial meaning of ‘qualification’.We are encouraged to learn only that, which would support our vocation. I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Counselling Psychology. Upon finding out about my interest in learning more German, quite a few people have asked me, “Oh but how is it related to Psychology?” The rest of the question is fine, however, the ‘but’ bothers me. Having a sound knowledge of disciplines related to the subject one majors in is helpful, I certainly do not deny. But the notion that all other learning is a waste is downright absurd. Sayalee Marathe is a multi faceted personality. She has grown up listening to the best of literary works from her grandmother. Being a poet herself, she is passionate about theater, is sensitive about issues falling in the realm of political ideology and empowerment and has worked as a computer engineer for many years before venturing into the world of jewelry designing. It is this wide array of knowledge that has made every Aadyaa design truly out of the box. After all, knowing isn’t enough. The appropriate use of knowledge is the demonstration of true wisdom, something the young entrepreneur taught us well.
As an audience at VEDH, I would like to observe that there are numerous faculty members that we listen to and meet every year, and every week now through VEDH Katta. As an individual, I might not resonate with and strongly feel about every vocation that the faculty members have literally dedicated their lives to. But there is always a lot to learn from them as people, from the set of values they believe in an abide by. I strongly believe that it is these values, be it honesty, democracy, sustainable living, social sensitivity that have the capability to give a touch of gold to the professional in us. Listening to Sayalee Marathe speak was a similar experience for me. A woman signifying strength and confidence, she has a strong axis of values that guides her. After letting us peep into the person that she is, I can say that I aspire to be like her in many ways.
The most impressive thing about the founders of Aadyaa? Their decision to never use automation for any of their…… craft. In short, to keep it a craft and not convert it into a product. As one would make out from looking at Aadyaa’s designs, it is all about nature, tradition and a certain class that only simplicity can convey. It is these very things that have made me go beyond a plain appreciation for the designs. Let me illustrate this point. Fashion and art are media of expression. Personally, I have never been interested in a “product” for its mere design. I have always chosen to buy and let myself be engrossed in valuing art, craft and fashion that stand for and reflects a certain value. I remember the time I and my mother went to buy a Paithani saree for my grandmother. The store owner showed us a traditional Paithani, a semi Paithani, and a machine made one. Well, my inexperienced eyes could tell the hand loom Paithani looked more “grounded” and “classy”. But I can never forget how much I have started valuing it after the shop owner explained the whole process of making a true Paithani saree. During my time as a student in the vibrant city of Mumbai, I have truly enjoyed paying a visit to and spending hours together at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.Among exhibits of beautiful Khaadi clothes, handmade,up- cycled jewelry, rich Lucknowi sarees and Madhubani paintings, there was no better place I’d rather be at that day. For all these works of art and craft spoke of value, tradition and culture that India is proud of.
Automation was brought in to increase the rate of production, to help the product reach many more houses. In all its irony, it is killing the art, its essence and its value. The position of weavers, artisans and all the people who are keeping traditional art and its value alive is anxiety- provoking. I for one, would love to do my bit by demanding such goods more aggressively than I do today, as soon as I start earning.
Aadyaa sums itself up in three words: Tradition, Soul and Happiness and it lives up to each value. I started by looking at Aadyaa as a jewelry brand, ended up looking at it as a precious craft that stands for culture, and sustainable values. Possession of such art forms and craft is the possession of treasure that would be passed on to future generations. One would not merely be passing on an heirloom, but the value for effort and skill that speaks of love and culture.
References To watch Sayalee Marathe’s VEDH Katta interview: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3172133932863305&id=100002001879504 Aadyaa Silver Jewelry’s official website: https://www.aadyaa.com/