It was a photograph on Facebook that first caught my attention. A friend had posted some photos of her lovely home and a crochet flower encased in a glass frame that looked stunning. The simple colours of the thread somehow seemed to light up the doorway. I was hooked.
Thus began my quest to know ‘who did it.’ It was a journey that allowed me to peep into a Mom’s Closet. It allowed me to feel her dreams and capture in words her journey of beautifying life with her talent for crochet.
Mrs. Chatty Janaki’s labour of love ‘Amma Ki Almari’ is truly ‘an almaari (closet) that didn’t keep its threads a secret.’
Mumbai is India’s New York City. It pulsates with energy. This is flanked by resilience and fledgling dreams, housing ambitions and homes in equal measure. Speed is the middle name here.
The pace of life is fast, furious, and relentless. Amidst this chaos, one woman decided to pursue what few at her young age of 74 will dare to do – find her purpose and give her threads a chance to weave dreams.
Mrs. Chatty Janaki is your quintessential Indian housewife. She runs a household efficiently and is talented at the many small joys of life (cooking, knitting etc) that today are supposedly ‘out of fashion.’ But, underneath her gentle demeanour lies a passionate, fiery spirit that has embraced life in all its hues.
Her friends, neighbours, and family have over the years come to adore her ‘crochet’ skills. With those needles and yarn, she weaves magic – a small flower here, a gorgeous scarf there, and some colourful coasters as a gift. Her crochet creations have adorned the hearts and homes of many.
Then, Mrs. Janaki decided she wanted her life to reflect more of her spirit and resilience. Thus was born ‘Amma Ki Almaari’, literally meaning ‘A Mom’s closet’ whose secrets were to beautify homes, one masterpiece at a time. Age didn’t deter her, and she made friends with the Internet and social media.
Why be dictated by norms and societal limits? Her crochet creations were just the delicate touch many of us craved in this fast paced world. It started as a trickle of likes on her FB page, and then came the orders. Soon enough, Mrs. Janaki’s passion and talent ensured Amma’s closet was becoming a part of the lives of many.
A customer delights in showing off her gorgeous white crochet scarf while another points to the colourful crochet flowers dotting her entrance. Of course, like all intrepid entrepreneurs, Mrs. Janaki believes in reinventing and rejuvenating to suit the myriad moods of her customers.
As Amma Ki Almari grew in popularity, another seed of thought took root in her indefatigable soul. What about the thousands of such women like her in India who has talent and time on their hands now? Free from household responsibilities, did they also dream like her to show their talent to the world?
Like her crochet, other Ammas (Amma is the Indian term for Moms) too have their skills, which has the potential to become gifts of love for a lot of people. They could provide joy and happiness to the receivers and givers, while a lot of these unknown talents could receive respect and fair remuneration.
As I write this article while simultaneously deciding to order a crochet scarf for myself, Mrs. Janaki is busy working with Version Next Digital (VND) on developing Ammaki Almaari’s online shopping website showcasing the art and craft talent of pan-India Ammas.
As Version Next Digital proudly claims, “We aim to establish Ammaki Almaari as the largest online and offline meet-up community of Ammas who create, collaborate, and communicate creatively to fulfil their life dream defining their individuality.
Today, the Ammaki Almaari range of products include knitted wear, paintings, home décor, home art installations, paper art, terracotta, jewellery, quirky art, recycled art, unique gifting items, and Ammaki Almaari private label.
Who knew that one passionate spirit and her threads could weave such a beautiful story? Mind you, it is still a work in progress. After all, dreams and great ideas have no limits.
Mrs. Chatty Janaki truly embodies the spirit of living a life from the soul. Her words and actions echo her philosophy, “There is never an age to stop giving, never an age to stop learning, and more importantly, never an age to stop starting something new.”
An Economics graduate, MBA (Marketing) and a newbie to meditation, Matuli Madhusmita Swain is a lover of life and all the amazing things it has to offer. She loves the cultural diversity of her country India, and she writes to connect readers around the world to an alternate perspective of how her country is undergoing a socio-economic shift, amidst deep-rooted culture and customs. She currently heads the Communications vertical for a reputed CSR organization. Contact – LinkedIn
Photo Credit – Amma Ki Almaari