KOCHI: There was a time when people used to call Aparna S a scrap collector. Little did they know that she was spearheading a green movement, one which would mark her work for posterity. In fact, even Aparna had no clue that she was on her way to becoming the poster girl for upcycling.
It all started two years ago, when Aparna came across a green wine bottle lying on a sidewalk. The bottle had an uncanny resemblance to the one she saw in a Korean movie the previous night. Intrigued, she promptly picked it up. Always a craft aficionado, Aparna started pondering on how she could spruce up her find.
Soon, all she saw was bottles. “After that, I noticed bottles everywhere. My bag could accommodate 15 bottles at a time and I would fill it with bottles that caught my fancy. And as I loved playing with paints, I adorned all the bottles I gathered. That is how it began,” says Aparna who is based in Kollam. When she started, Aparna had no clue that she would be alienated, that her peer group would fail to accept her initiative and her world would change. “It was hard at first. Everyone would make fun of me and call me names. There was no support and I couldn’t come to terms with the negativity because I was engaged in something I loved doing. The pain of isolation is great but I turned all my challenges into strengths,” recalls Aparna, a final year BEd student.
People started calling her ‘Kuppi’ (a bottle) and she made that into her brand, ‘Quppi’. Her home started brimming with bottles following which her mother built a shed next to the house where Aparna could continue her craft. She gained popularity for her campaign addressing the waste piled up near the coast of Ashtamudi lake. The one-week campaign saw Aparna and a team of like-minded youth collect all solid waste near by and segregate it. The bottles were cleaned, upcycled and put for sale at the Kollam KSRTC stand. Now, over 2,000 bottles lie vying for attention at her home along with 500 upcycled ones.
Apart from painting on the bottles and upcycling them, Aparna uses the technique of photo transfer onto glass. Painting the calendar on bottles is yet another masterpiece of hers. Aparna says she receives about 100 orders per month on an average. She hopes to start a unit that will provide employment to women. But her plan for the coming year is a green one. “I hope to initiate a movement that can bring in a lot more greenery into my locality. That is my vision for 2020,” says Aparna.