From Metal to Memories





Mohammed Ehsaan is the fourth generation of pattra karigars in his family. His great grandfather was known to have made jewels for the rani of Punjab exclusively. He has watched his childhood turn to mid age around dexterity of the craft. Trained under his father ‘Miya’, he commands the artistry with Love.

Miya Ji is 69. Not once have I seen the ‘craft’ happen without his presence. He sits like a final authority in the workshop. The sons to follow his subtle eye movements and rare head nods.





On occasions, I have been intimidated by his smilence. :)

But then there is Ehsaan and his younger brothers to diffuse the situation.






Blades, knife, pliers, scale, brush, gas cylinder, phone charger, lantern, tiffin box and a bag of namkeen all sit in perfect harmony huddled next to Ehsaan.

'Who knows who might be next in line to serve his master'.



After a brief conversation that mattered, he began.

Dallops of lacquer spread on a wooden tray. Series of firework to carefully paste the cut pieces onto it. Next to him sits the younger brother Farzaan, he is in charge of beating the piece so they are absolutely flat. With a wit in his smile and sparkle in eyes, he shows off his skill. Miya Ji cat naps while I enjoy the show. Ehsaan now picks up an earlier set tray with Naseera Earrings and begins scrapping the surface.





As he does, what he does best; I saw the light bounce back and glow. There was no distance between him and his witchcraft.

I saw his fingers dance to the notes of his tool.

The greyish white metal transforming into sepia-tinted stories.

I saw it going through the full circle.

Through blades and fires, sometimes gentle sometimes rough.

But, always with Love.





I picked the newly crafted jhulaniya, and bring it close to my ear.

Everyone watched the reflection on a tiny wall mounted mirror.

'Sundar lag rahe hain' I expressed.

Shukra hai Allah hai" thanked Ehsaan.

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