Dadi, Nani, Biji, Aji, Ammama, Paati – whatever language you speak, the warmth and love your grandmother offers you is unparalleled. Whether it’s the stories she tells you or the dishes 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 quite early in life and recounts The best India how there was a phase in life where she just didn’t go to bed at night without her grandmother telling her a story. “Listening to mum (grandmother) telling me stories kind of made me believe that everything was going to be okay. That’s the security I took 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 in a company in Delhi and whereas I used to commute to work before COVID, I am now working from home. It was around this time that I saw how bored my grandmother was at home and the idea of rekindling an interest she had nurtured as a child,” she says.
Knitting and crocheting are skills that Sheela has used for many years.
Yukti adds that sweaters and clothes for the children in the family were often made by Sheela. “Working from home kind of turned out to be a godsend – I was able to create and run an Instagram page for her and get her excited about something after a very long time,” Yukti says. Having launched this page, CaughtCraftHanded in November 2020, Yukti says the initial response has been rather boring. “But we decided not to let that discourage us and we kept going.”
In the beginning, Sheela made what she was good at – pillow and cushion covers. Slowly she started looking at more pictures, understanding trends and experimenting with various products. Today, Sheela makes bookmarks, children’s clothing, sweaters, bottle and mug warmers, scarves, headbands and even foot and ankle warmers. You can choose your product according to the budget you have in mind.
“There’s something for every budget,” says Sheela.
“The best part of it all is how positive my grandmother’s vision has become. From wandering around the house trying to figure out what to do with her time to getting chores done quickly so she can get on with her job, the transformation has been so encouraging for me,” says Yukti. The duo also started spending a lot of quality time together. “Once I’m done working, I hang out with her to show her what people would love to do, learn to crochet with her, and even experiment cooking with her for company,” Yukti adds.
Talking about the time it takes to make these products, Sheela says, “A dress for the age group of newborn to a 3 year old child takes me three days and costs around Rs 1,600. It also depends on how much work it requires. With every order shipped, a handwritten note and a few extra goodies, like bookmarks, scrunchies or headbands are also sent. “The idea is to bring joy to those who receive their packages and by doing so, we become happy,” says Yukti.
While bookmarks are priced at Rs 100, scarves are available from Rs 850 and potli range from Rs 600.
“The best part is that everything can be personalized. You can choose the color you want and the look you want too,” adds Yukti. After shipping between 8 and 10 orders per month, the brand now ships nearly 20 orders per month. “We are happy with this growth and since only my grandmother makes these products, we are happy to grow at this rate,” says Yukti.
In conclusion, Yukti says, “Being able to earn her own money, I see how my grandmother has started to feel more secure. Even if the sum is minimal, the satisfaction of having won it itself makes it shine. I’m so happy to be a small part of allowing him this.
To discover their work and place your order, you can click here.
(Editing by Yoshita Rao)