Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Surendrabhai is a senior gentleman – who runs one of the most successful and well-known restaurants in India. Spread over a few thousand square feet, food is served in thatched roof huts, by handsome waiters with earrings and turbans, completely at ease in their local attire of dhotis and turbans. Coir rope beds, bonfires, musicians with ethnic music, fire torches all add to the atmosphere. My guess is that the kitchen serves about 200 people every night on weekdays and over 400 on weekends.
The most interesting element of this restaurant is the utensil collection of Surendrabhai – a senior quiet gentleman.
His private collection includes amazing utensils – vessels in bronze, brass, copper and silver, most owned by common folk and some owned by royalty.
Some of these have uses that are hard to imagine today. The advent of technology has eliminated the process for which some of these utensils were used. Having seen these processes in my childhood, I was able to comprehend the explanations provided and imagine these utensils in action. My children however, already too far removed from that world, could not understand these and they are living signs that history is passing us by and that the information contained in these icons of past lives, will soon be lost!
I can only imagine the discernment Surendrabhai must have had when he began setting aside special articles to hold on to…the first stages when one does not even know that it is a ‘collection’ one is getting into….the stage where one does not anticipate that one day he will exhibit it all in a museum dedicated to utensils! THAT initial love is true love – for the form, for the art, for the soul of the article, that the collector wished to hold on to forever, to preserve for the world, to show off to the world to delight the viewers ….and to hope that everyone around will see in the object what he saw in it!
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