Come wedding season, you will see Simon Fernandes, a 31-year-old pharmaceutical executive assistant, buzzing around with orders for floral arrangements. Catering to floral decorations for fashion shows, weddings, First Holy Communions, Christenings and other events, he loves to work on flower accessories for any occasion. Possessive and particular about precision and the final finish, which is mandatory in this art, he makes the flowers himself with a little help from his family. What started off as a helping hand to his sister, is now a passion for Simon, which involves working through the night and on weekends. “Over a period of time I got quite addicted to the art and wanted to do more of it. My first order was in 2002”.
After learning the basics with his sister, Simon mainly learnt to make flowers and put together arrangements by trial and error. “I made a few attempts to get trained professionally, but ended up disappointed. This art, being traditionally gender-dominated, got me marked out. As most classes were conducted by women, they were uncomfortable teaching a man,” he explains.
Dominated by women, given the feminine touch the work calls for, initially, he was looked down upon or greeted with smirky smiles. For Simon, though, it was sheer pleasure and hidden talent unfolding. Word of mouth from satisfied clients has only made way for more orders. With a slight coaxing from close friends, Simon now has an active Facebook page (www.facebook.com/glamourous touch).
For 20-year-old Nikhil Ukirde, his interests extend beyond cricket and badminton to quilling, glass-painting and making rangolis. Though he has been painting on glass and creating beautiful rangolis for four years, he picked up the art of quilling from a friend, a year ago. A computer software student, Nikhil makes time on weekends and vacations to pursue his interests. Encouraged by his friends, he has started selling his work–frames, jewellery, cards and more. “In February this year, I will start teaching glass painting and quilling to a few school kids from my colony,” he says.
Travelling by train, you may see a few women knitting a scarf. But have you seen men who knit? In Portland, Oregon, Niki Tekchandani, says, “There are many men who not only knit, but also teach kids in Montessori. Kids learn to knit when they are six”. Can we see Indian men catching on to this? I wonder...