When the Managing Director of Nagaland Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation, wanted me to come to Dimapur to explore a design assignment, I was both thrilled and apprehensive. Thrilled because I always wanted to visit the interiors of North East India and wanted to savour the sights and crafts of the place first-hand. Apprehensive because like all common people, I was worried if the place was safe from terrorism and whether I would be able to do a successful project in an alien culture with an unsure set of artisans.
As the flight was descending down upon Dimapur on mid-summer morning, I was amazed at the greenery I could see from the skies and I was as excited to land as the Japanese couple sitting next to me and was raring to go. When I met the friendly face of the co-ordinator, all my fears disappeared. I knew I was going to enjoy my stay there.
When one refers to Nagaland, it is always about the place, its greenery, its mountains, its cuisine, its proximity to other cultures all over the world, etc. Of course, Nagaland has been well endowed. But what struck me first, about the place was the genuine friendliness of the people. Not the polite, Delhi-type of friendliness, but gregarious. They all have a great sense of humour, a life style that is more laid-back than most and an easy-going nature that makes any outsider comfortable.
My project was to assess the skills of the artisans of the cluster, Nagarjan, identified by the NHHDC and see their product r...