3 Nov 2011

Khotwadi. Santa Cruz (W)

Work Space Mumbai Special: A Kapdawalla's Story. Part 6:
The importance of a work space loo

After a round of the by-lanes of Khotwadi, it's time to return to the life of the Kapdawala - Nalin of Gamma. A few weeks after landing in Mumbai, he had his production in full swing from the little sweatshop with the friendly, skilled craftsmen from UP who landed in Kurla on the same platform as Nalin.

It was a good arrangement, but not perfect. They were good at work, quality was better than what he got down south, the work happened faster.

Nalin also felt comfortable enough to bring his wife ( he stays with a friend in Chunnabhatti) from Coimbatore. She would help him with his business. As he settled down, there were a few things that cropped up.

The hundreds of workers and residents of Khotwadi have only one public loo. All day, there is a queue outside the loo.

Is that a problem in Mumbai? It is but this is a city where the first thing an aspiring politician does is build a loo for the masses who don't have one. And even after thousands have been built, there are still not enough.

But the problem is not just about the loo.

It's about space. While Khotwadi provides you with people and skills, it's not a place where you can sit and think. If you are copying designs, it's a perfect place. But if you decide to pause and think, on a full bladder, this is not a place.

And if he wants his wife to come and help him with his work, Khotwadi would be a difficult place.

It's easy to install an Air conditioner. But it's not easy to build a loo. And humans don't function like the buffaloes in the tabela downstairs.

Even then, Khotwadi was where a famous designer Anita Dongre first churned out her clothes from. The one who started the industry here. However, she has moved on now to a bigger place close by.

Nalin is not a hardcore designer or an Anita Dongre, but he felt that he needed space to think and not just churn out clothes. He also needed a place where his wife could work, help him with his accounts. He also wanted a place where he could invite a client. So what did he do? We will find out in the next post.

Read the full story here: A Kapdawala' story

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