Adorning home with woollen akash kandils this Diwali

Adorning home with woollen akash kandils this Diwali

Swati Shenai Salgaonkar with her hand-weaved akash kandils.

Photo Credits: The Goan

Talent is inborn. An artistic inclination brings a positive change in the personality of a person. And not all can become a good artist. Here’s Swati Shenai Salgaonkar – with god-gifted talent that allows her to create simple wonders with her crochet and hand embroidery designs.

And she’s quick at her work. It hardly takes her a day or two, to weave a woollen akash kandil and she has made dozens of it for this Diwali. Her venture ‘Swati Creations’ deals with online orders and dispatches the finished product to her clients by courier or personal delivery if it is in North Goa. To send her artworks to South Goa she either posts them or couriers them. Not to forget, Swati makes flowers, garlands, torans, and wall hangings too. She creates beautiful designs using her hand embroidery skills on tablecloths, pillow covers, bed sheets, napkins, etc.

Her parents didn’t much realise that their newborn has issues with hearing. Swati was not able to hear with her right ear, and her left ear also had some issues. Born as a weak, underweight child, she had recurring infections of cold which again impacted her ears. It was only after she turned three-and-a-half years old that the parents understood that the child has a serious hearing problem. With time the problem deteriorated and now Swati is almost 90% deaf.

When a person cannot hear the pronunciations correctly he or she cannot utter those words. The same happened with Swati. “But she found her own way to deal with this issue,” Swati’s mother recalls, adding, “Swati made up her own words for various things and with that we understood what she means to say.”

The doctors advised to operate on her to resolve the hearing issue, but the parents did not dare to take the risk as their child was fragile. Otherwise, Swati’s childhood was quite joyful. She schooled like any other girl of her age in Advalpal. Her mother, a banker, narrates, “As a child, Swati was very systematic and meticulous.” Swati’s father, an insurance agent, used to give her cash which she counted and arranged neatly. The parents used to purposely give her currency notes which, as a child, she loved to arrange. The family also ran a poultry business then.

To add to her woe, Swati suffered facial palsy and had to undergo operations twice, in 2004 and 2006. She continued her schooling and her parents never thought of sending her to a special school because, apart from her hearing disability, she was just like other kids. “In fact, Swati was more talkative than other kids in class when she was admitted to Sanjay School in 2000 where she had to repeat her class V. She became a pet student of her teachers there. She learnt sign language there and made many friends, most of whom are still her friends,” briefed her mother.

The parents did not learn the sign language as Swati understood what they spoke, and responded. She is an expert in lip reading and can easily interact verbally with them. With her friends, she chats on video calls using sign language. She can speak and communicate though she cannot hear.

Swati’s inclination towards creative art and craft only grew with age. She began making garlands and gajras of flowers from her backyard. Later she learnt the craft of making organdie flowers, hand embroidery, and woollen crochet work. Swati’s expertise in handcrafted art received much appreciation when it was put on Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups. She began making hand-embroidered bed sheets, tablecloths, and pillow covers and orders poured in. This kept her busy, apart from earning some pocket money. “Engaging in creative art gives me immense pleasure,” says Swati, who enjoys gifting the art craft she makes. ‘Swati’s Creations’ is now a name popular on Facebook. Most of her clientele is from across Goa, and the family helps her send the parcels to their respective addresses.

“We courier her work to the persons who order online, and sometimes we send through a person. People also drop in and pick up from our home in Advalpal,” briefs Swati’s mother, who is now retired from her banking job. She is a strong support for Swati and a spokesperson too. As mothers can read their children’s minds, Swati’s mother can convey what Swati wants to say. A protective mother, she never allows Swati to take any kind of stress. That’s the reason she insists that Swati should not exert herself by accepting too many orders.

“We keep her craft items for gifting in the family, and on occasions. She does wall hangings, pump balls, garlands with wool crochet art, akash kandils, etc. The small sizes akash kandil is sold for Rs 450-500 while the bigger one is priced at Rs 700-800. She has bagged s few orders for akash kandils this Diwali which she is working on. Four orders are already couriered,” informed Swati’s mother.

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