Neha Gandhi and Matsya

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Meeting Neha Gandhi of Matsya was one of the most inspiring things I did last week. Somehow I just knew all the amazing products Matsya makes is just the tip of the iceberg. And sure enough, the one hour I spent chatting with Neha in her office gave me insights into the vast amounts of experience and passion that Matsya comes from. From a fine art degree in Ceramics to a Golden Bridge Pottery course in Pondicherry to being a faculty at NID to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001 which was a turning point in her life, followed by a rigourous 4 year stint with the BSC (an NGO) where she directly helped the villagers to form a supplimentary livelihood, Neha Gandhi has lived a full life steadily gaining every experience and expertise that she would need as the founder of Matsya.
Through the conversation one thing that came out clearly to me was that Neha's heart was with the villagers in Gujarat who created all this art. Speaking about the earthquake she remembers the contrast she witnessed: on one side the destruction of the earthquake and on the other side the incredible artistry of rural Gujarat.
While Matsya moves from strength to strength the one thing that will always be important to Neha is the artisan behind the handicraft, his & her story and her conviction that due importance should be given to them.
When I asked her what according to her Matsya is, this is what she said "Matsya is the bridge that connects the grassroots and the urban customers. But for me it is boring to just source and sell. What is the story, who are the people, who is the artisan behind the produced is very important. And no one was giving importance to them. What we do at Matsya is train the artisan, see what they have in mind, and give them a sustainable livelihood"

One of the most interesting things that Matsya does is, it organises craft Tours to Kutch. Neha's experience and expertise in the field is what you will get if you sign up for one of these. I'm myself hoping to gowith her someday soon.
After an hour full of recounting her and Matsya's brilliant journey with me Neha told me something I'm not likely to forget easily "Everything is not about money. Its about values. Its about people connecting. I have realised that you dont need money to realise your dreams. All you need is your determination and confidence. Nothing is permanent, everything changes. But you have to be at it, you have to do it."
You can check out her products here. Read her blog here.

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