A pre-loved paathiram project

Bringing the limelight back to traditional vessels is Paathira Kadai through which brothers Ravisankar and Surya VM are thrifting some of  their heirloom treasures

Published: 12th April 2022 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2022 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It’s not often that we acknowledge the tangible legacy inherited from our ancestors. It could be a piece of antique jewellery, a rare souvenir, or a vintage car awaiting a new lease of life. For brothers Ravisankar and Surya VM, it was a box full of heirloom kitchenware left behind by their great grandmothers. And, as luck would have it, the true value of the collection they possessed for years was only recently brought to their attention through their two-year-old passion project MuraiVaasal. 

Small steps for a large cause

This discovery gave way to a meaningful, small-scale initiative called Paathira Kadai through which the duo revives traditional kitchenware by collaborating with artisans. “We’ve so far displayed our tulsi madam, brass coffee davarah set, a brass urli decked up with flowers, a five-faced kuthuvizhaku, bronze vessels that double up as planters or a copper boiler, along with our vibrant kolams. We did not see much beyond its aesthetic value. But upon many inquiries from people, our perspective towards the collectables changed for good,” shares Surya. 

Despite the initial hiccups, the pandemic-birthed project seems to have taken off well with time. Depending on the demand for a product, the brothers travel to work with independent artisans around Madurai and Kumbakonam. “Barring the heirloom pieces our mother is sentimental about, we’ve been open to selling some from our collections, similar to thrifting. But largely, we’ve been equally sourcing from outside. One of our latest bulk orders was for Chettinad arival manai, which also comes with a coconut scraper, made of teak wood and painted with natural colours; we were sold out instantly. The page is updated with a fresh list of available stock, every day,” informs Surya. 

Some of the other offerings include brass idli pot, vengala vati, paavai vizhaku, prasadha thooku, Kumbakonam kudam, vadi thooku, brass sambadam and eeya sombu. “We recently shipped 50 coffee davarah sets abroad. Despite the exorbitantly priced courier charges, people seem to have a craze for these items. Orders have also been coming in from Coimbatore, Tirupur, Hyderabad, and even Malaysia. Packing, however, is a challenge. We use hay to cushion the objects safely inside the couriers to prevent breakage,” notes Surya. 

Going the extra mile

The brothers believe that the initiative is the best way to connect with like-minded people, preserve some of the handmade crafts on the verge of dying, and provide employment opportunities to struggling artisans.

“There’s always demand for antiques but people tend to overspend. There are a handful of artisanal vessel shops doing an incredible job. While another set of players in the market is trying to replicate authentic techniques at a cheaper quality, we don’t see either of these segments as competitors, as our priorities are different. We want to offer good pricing and quality for our products,” he says. 

Besides building a prospective business out of it, the brothers are determined to spread the word about the importance of preserving traditional vessels for posterity. “Every object has a story to tell if we care to notice and listen. We’ve become more responsible with handling and maintaining our collection at home. We regularly oil the vessels to prevent them from getting oxidised. Perhaps, if all of us maintain our possessions well, they can last for a lifetime. It’s been a big learning experience for us,” he concludes. 

The duo is open to taking bulk orders for corporate gifting. The delivery time differs for locations. They ship across India. 

Visit @paathira_kadai on Instagram


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