Dadi, Nani, Biji, Aji, Ammama, Paati – no matter what language you speak, the warmth and love that your grandmother showers you with is unparalleled. Whether it is the stories that she tells you or the food she cooks to pamper you, grandmothers are the best.
For Yukti Bajaj (26) her grandmother Sheela Bajaj (78) has always been a source of security. Yukti lost her father rather early on in life and tells The Better India how there was a phase in life where she would just not go to bed at night without her grandmother telling her a story. “Listening to mummy (grandmother) tell me stories somehow made me believe that everything would be alright. That is how much security I derived from her,” she says.
Life has been anything but kind to Yukti who also lost her mother a few years ago. “I work as a language expert with a firm in Delhi and while I used to travel to work pre-COVID, I now work from home. It was during this time that I saw how bored my grandmother would get at home and the thought of rekindling an interest she nurtured during her childhood,” she says.
Knitting and crochet were skills that Sheela put to good use for many years.
Yukti adds that sweaters and clothes for children in the family would often be made by Sheela. “Working from home in a sense turned out to be a boon – I was able to create and manage an Instagram page for her and just get her excited about something after a very long time,” says Yukti. Having started this page, CaughtCraftHanded in November 2020, Yukti says that the initial response was rather dull. “But we decided not to let that dishearten us and we kept going.”
In the beginning Sheela was making what she was adept at – pillow and cushion covers. Slowly, she started looking at more images, understanding trends and experimenting with various products. Today, Sheela makes bookmarks, clothes for children, sweaters, bottles and mug warmers, scarves, headbands and even foot and ankle warmers. One can choose their product according to the budget they have in mind.
“There is something for every budget,” says Sheela.
“The best part about all this is how positive my grandmother’s outlook has become. From walking around the house trying to figure out what to do with her time, to now finishing up the household chores quickly so she can get on with her work – the transformation for me has been so heartening,” says Yukti. The duo have also started spending a lot of quality time together. “Once I am through with work I spend time with her showing her what people would like made, learning crochet from her and even experimenting with some cooking with her for company,” adds Yukti.
Speaking about the time it takes to make these products, Sheela says, “A dress for the age group newborn to a 3-year-old takes me three days to complete and costs approximately Rs 1,600. This also depends on the amount of work that it requires.” With each order that is shipped out, a handwritten note and a few extra goodies, like bookmarks, scrunchies or headbands are sent out too. “The idea is to bring joy to those receiving their parcels and in doing this we become happy,” says Yukti.
While the book marks are priced at Rs 100, the scarves are available from Rs 850 and potli’s range from Rs 600 upwards.
“The best part is everything can be customised. You can pick the colour you want and the look that you want as well,” adds Yukti. Having started from shipping between 8 to 10 orders month-on-month, the brand now ships close to 20 orders a month. “We are happy with this growth and given that it is only my grandmother who makes these products, we are content with growing at this pace,” says Yukti.
In conclusion, Yukti says, “Being able to earn her own money, I see how much more secure my grandmother has started feeling. Even if the amount is small, the satisfaction of having earned it herself makes her glow. I am so glad I am a small part of enabling this for her.”
To check out their work and place your order, you can click here.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)