Terracotta is such a beautiful thing- moulding mud into a piece of exquisite decor and utility. It has remained an integral part of the Indian household since the first civilizations occurred.
Its history dates back to our ancestral period. It has deeply rooted in ancient traditions. Every household has evolved along with it.
The archaeological excavations are proof that terracotta was a considered valuable asset. Right from sculptures to vessels, it formed an important part of life back then.
As generations grew, the use and style of terracotta changed. The vessels were now ghada, suraahi, matki, kadhai, and what not; and the sculptures became things of worship.
The term terracotta makes us imagine the simple pleasures of life.
The sight of dadi making dal in the terracotta pot on the chulha, that picture in your Social Studies textbook of women in Rajasthan carrying pots on their heads, the neighbourhood uncle using a terracotta chillam sitting under the peepal tree, and the melas where the most fascinating things were the brown terracotta toys.
One fine evening, Dadi was missing her old house, the one they had back in the village. I envisioned as she kept on speaking; a house with clay roof tiles, walls and floor "clay-washed", the kitchen full of utensils of terracotta, the caretaker of the house blowing into a pipe to ignite the flame of the chulha and cook food whose authentic taste and feel is unmatched.
With an adrenaline rush in my body and my mind, I handed my Dadi the keys to our new duplex house; marble on the floor, wallpaper on the walls, LED-fitted false ceiling, velvet-clad sofa sets, showcases with exquisite imported showpieces! Everything seemed perfect to me. But I guess not to the rest of the family and especially, Dadi.\
Now, after a month,
Terracotta miniatures have replaced the glass showpieces in the showcases now. The soothing light from the hanging candlelight holder as she reads the Bhagavad Gita in the evening, the mini lanterns in the balcony, the crockery unit with aesthetically pleasing terracotta utensils: cookware and serveware. Dad cooked food that day and served it to the rest of the family in beautiful terracotta roti boxes, glasses, thalis, and a never-ending series of this. The sisters of the house tying rakhis on their brothers' hands; this time with terracotta rakhi ki thali. Everything suddenly felt home. A touch of belongingness!
Nothing can be such a balanced combination of sleek and stylish. A perfect bohemian look for your house and a feeling to cherish.
The same clay which people step on becomes the idol of worship for the whole of humankind. A mere piece of clay becomes a pot that quenches the thirst of many.
The existence of terracotta has changed. And it has changed for good.
Terracotta is not just a piece of clay, it's an emotion!