Freaking Funny Fails @ Pottery Town, Bangalore

I came to Bangalore with a great desire to work (exaggerated) and a greater desire to travel (sachai). But then my company just like any other company loves its employees a lot. After an hour or so even you start getting bored of your girlfriend's/boyfriend's blabber but my company can suck for 12+ hours. Since I had little time(and more lethargy) for travel, I sold my camera (lame reason, true reason doesn't exist). I don't like walking without a camera let alone travelling. After frustration level climbed, I again bought a camera maxing out my credit card making it an obligation to travel (else my credit card and camera would have reported abuse). 

I googled for the best places for photography in Bangalore, and stumbled upon Pottery Town. As the name suggests, it is a place where they make earthen utensils and stuff. I read a few blogs which increased my interest. I was amazed, surprised, bemused by the fact that none of the blogs that I read, talked about the potters. I mean it seemed people clicked images and rushed back home to simmer the boiling milk. So, I sensed an opportunity to go to the pottery town, and to talk to the potters and get to know more about their lives and aspirations.

After waiting for an hour for the buses suggested by Google Maps, we took a multi-hop journey to the pottery town. After changing three buses for a 13 km journey, we reached pottery town at 10 am. We saw some freshly prepared earthen cups (kulhad) being dried in the sun. I saw no potter around, and I am not very habitual of just breaking into houses. We moved ahead after roaming around hoping someone would greet us (over-expectation, I forgot I ain't no Rahul Gandhi). Seeing the camera in my hand, a good man directed us to a narrow lane that had potters. I asked a potter, if we could see him make. He said, NO! (Just like your boss says when asked for pay hike). I requested again saying we won't do anything, but just watch. He replied, abhi khaane ka time ho raha hai (lunch time at 11 am). Move on! (didn't go through as many in life otherwise)

Every cup has imprints of the fingers that caressed it

Finally, I saw two more potters working in a quite dark room. It was dark despite the open door, as there were no windows. I hesitated for a while (one I am shy, two the previous experience was now playing on my mind too). Before I could enter, a man shot "No photo". If I integrate the decibels of all the noes I had from my dad over the interval, candy to camera, this no would still be louder. I said that I won't disturb them, I just want to watch. Like a gorgeous woman, he ignored my very presence there. I was cool with it. The potters were making diyas(earthen lamps). I saw the wet clay rotating over the wheel. The potter with very gentle hands caresses the clay. It looks like letting a calm river flow between your fingers, here, with care and precision. He made perfect round one, but it wasn't complete yet. It needed that little protrusion for the wick. He gently pinched off an edge with his middle finger and thumb. I don't know about you, but I found it engaging.

pumpkin shaped earthen pots pottery town
Pumpkin Pots
Pack up! We are most probably going home photo-less. I had 50% dejection in my mind, 90% on my camera processor, and 150% on my friend's face. I don't know if he tried to conceal it or not, his face hollered "I don't understand this dumbf...otographer (because kids also read this blog). Moving ahead I saw something that brought a gleam in my eye.

Chicks! Super-cute, adorable, soft, tender, totally kissable and furry chicks! Ya furry! I am talking about the very species who forgot to get the copyright of the word "chick" in time and a woman, like in a shoe showroom, shouted "I want that". There were some 60 odd (but isn't 60 even) chicks in the cage. Adil Muhammad has been looking after and selling these birds for over a decade now. He was as curious about my camera, as curious I was about the birds. I was clicking pictures, as I was expecting to be pushed away in like 5...4...3... He asked what would I do with the pictures. I told him I'll write about him, the good work he does here, so that people get to know about him, come here and buy more birds from him. (Okay, that's what Mu Sigma did to me)

He sells a pair of love birds for Rs. 350. If that's cheap, he sells a little chick for Rs. 5. Five! Yeah! You can have a chick at the price of a Parle G. When I inquired why are they so cheap, he told me that these are 'rejected' chicks that come from poultry farms. I was curious to know why are they rejected but he didn't know or didn't want to divulge that. All he knew was that they all were males. I guess they are the eggs that accidentally hatch and since males can't lay eggs they are not of much use for the farmers. (Where is bloody Men Rights Commission?). One healthy cock can mate with hundreds of hens, without being charged for adultery. "So you get them for free?", I asked. He denied and said he pays for every bird.

love birds in a line at pottery town
Love Birds. Surely, it is not just the women who love to pose.
The birds were in three colors- cute cream, majestic magenta and gorgeous green. I had never seen the magenta and green colored chicks (I hadn't even seen the cream ones before, but magenta and green were kinda faded) so I asked about them. He said that he colors them because kids demand those more. I didn't ask if the color harms them because that would have been kinda too much for him. During holidays at school, he easily sells over 500 chicks a week, and 3-4 love bird pairs a month. That sounded like pretty decent business.

Then I spotted a solitary cock. For Christ sake, that is a bird! I was bemused, so many chicks and love birds but just one cock. He told me that it was no ordinary cock. And I went "oh! Was it featured on brazzers or something?". Korikatta or cock fight was one of the most popular sport in Karnataka, before Xbox and Wii came in. Need not say it was a fighter cock. "Ispe laakh laakh ki baazi lagti hai". I was so awestruck looking at the Sikandar (Tere Bin Laden) in real life. Although cock fight has been criminalized, it is still played in Bangalore. "Bade maidan me hajaaro log aate hain, baazi lagaate hain-dus hazaar, bees hazaar, kabhi kabhi to poore laakh ki baazi lagti hai. Aur jo murga haarta hai, use wahin kaat ke khaa jaate hain". I laughed like hell at the last sentence.  I should not have been laughing, that so cruel! That rooster is actually fighting for his life. If you lose a freaking game, you are not only killed, but also marinated, roasted and eaten. "Bada hi lazeez-ahem-azeez murga tha".

adil muhammad, bird keeper stories
Adil Muhammad, Bird Keeper
(I asked him to smile, thrice!)

So eventually my trip that was likely to turn into a disappointment, was blessed by serendipity. It was a pleasure meeting Adil and getting to know some very interesting tales. While talking I sensed his sadness and bemusement at the behavior of the 'fellow' residents of pottery town who don't welcome 'outsiders' - wanderers like me and ones who were born and have lived there for 40 years alike. It is another tale to tell but somethings are better left unsaid. 

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