My mother, Kunda Kirloskar, was one of the most independent women I have ever met. She was an accomplished classical sitarist; played badminton to a high level; repaired cameras in her father’s shop and won medals for her art.
Kunda was unconventional: she married in her mid-thirties, at a time when it was usual for a woman to settle down with a life partner at twenty. After marriage she retained her independent streak in spite of slipping into the role of a homemaker and giving up most of her pursuits, notably her art. She did the accounts for the family business; settled disputes amongst staff; and helped in the education of children of deprived families.
Kunda always noted that women who worked as domestic help in India were often sole breadwinners, lacking in self-confidence and having to compromise their independence. In the later years of her life, she picked up her art brush again and decided to use it to do something about this situation.
This is how Kundakala was born – a cooperative selling Kunda’s art on products such as scarves, coasters and prints. As per her wishes, it is partly owned and run by Vimal and Renuka, two women who used to work for her.
Recently, Vimal and Renuka have decided to add another product to the list – Kunda’s home made masalas made to her exact measurements and recipes. My sisters and Kunda’s beloved grandchildren are fully invested in this enterprise. Our first goal is to fulfil Kunda’s vision of empowering Vimal and Renuka. We hope this will cede a chain reaction to support more women in the community.
By buying our products you can this make happen.
– Poornima Kirloskar-Saini