Come on, we all love to shop. But the one reason why this particular exhibition is worth a visit is because the four spirited ladies – Saroj Bhatia, Jani Dhingra, Indu Gupta and Sarita Baluja- each in their 60’s and 70’s, haven’t let age and the prospect of a comfortable retired life come in the way of their passion and strived to put together a pleasant retail experience that adds a socially relevant aspect to retail therapy.
These enterprising ladies are not only active volunteers for the NGO Akshya Pratisthan, but also spearhead one of Delhi’s more meaningful exhibitions, Purnam, that recently held its 2018 edition at the Hotel Ashok, New Delhi.
Saroj speaking for the four enterprising ladies says, “We believe that you make a living with what you get but you make a life with what you give. That is what truly drove us to do what we are doing today. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she is put in hot water.’ We believed in ourselves and what we wanted to do, and here we are!”
This year, Purnam brought together a mix of exhibitors – couturiers who redefine fashion trends keeping ecological and craft concerns in mind. They are talented, indigenous artisans and entrepreneurs who may not have organised means to sell, thereby lacking an opportunity to meet new buyers from new markets and a host of alternative products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and planet. On offer were products from Dubai as well as beautiful local products from towns like Hisar and Varanasi. Showcasing at the exhibition were designers like Madhu Jain, Sonam Dubal, Samant Chauhan, Rina Dhaka, Charu Parashar, Yasmin Kidwai, artist Kanchan Chander and spotted checking out what was on offer were activist and community service worker, Mohini Giri and well-known names like Aruna Dalmia, Abha Dalmia and Saif Habibullah.
Textile conservationist Madhu Jain, designers Sonam Dubal and Samant Chauhan, Rina Dhaka and others showed their collections at a special designer lounge at the exhibition. Madhu Jain, as part of her well-known textile revival project, presented rare bamboo silk ikat creations while designers Sonam Dubal and Samant Chauhan demonstrated the richness of Indian textiles. Rina Dhaka had a glamorous range of her creations on show.
On the beauty front, there was Aroma Magic by Dr Blossom Kochchar whose range of aromatherapy based beauty solutions are a welcome alternative in today’s age of chemically-loaded products. Along with natural skin and hair products, if you also want to keep a check on what you consume for that flawless, glowing skin and a healthy body, there were healthy food brands like Nutreen serving mouthwatering goodies that were gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free! Think of indulging in the most delicious cookies, energy balls and granola among other things, all with zero guilt!
Purnam also gave a platform to the very talented Bagesh, a Madhubani artist from Bihar, and artist Kanchan Chander who will be presented a solo show of her ‘Devi’ and ‘Bollywood’ series of kitsch canvas and mixed media art.
One of the purposes of this exhibition is not only about supporting emerging entrepreneurs but also to support credible and local NGOs. The exhibition provides a free platform to NGO’s to sell the creative products made by the communities they support. This year saw goodies and handicrafts from Akshya Pratisthan, Guild for Service, Trash to Cash, Four Steps and Antarkranti have to offer.