The best moment of my life!!!

1:11 PM

Yes, that's what has kept me busy all these days!!!

I had my first solo exhibition, here in Sangli; and it was a hit!!!


The idea began forming three years back. It was my mentor in architecture - Architect Pramod Chaugule - who suggested I should have my own exhibition! I was totally terrified of the idea! In fact, I just stopped meeting up with him.

Then last year they celebrated his father's 81st birthday. He wanted me to make a portrait of his father, but the fact that he wanted it in a big size was scaring me.

In June this year, I promised him I would make that portrait of his father. We decided to finish it by August 8th. He also offered to sponsor my first solo exhibition!

I was happy, excited, terrified, scared, ecstatic and frightened - all at the same time!

But I also felt confident about it. I got to work. We decided to make 88 quilts for the exhibition on 8/8.

I started working on the quilts in June. By the end of July I was at a comfortable place. The big quilt was ready and 85/88 quilts were almost ready. I actually managed to finish off 96 quilts! We then choose 88 to be displayed in the gallery.

On the days of the exhibition my awesome friends came down to help me with it. Kausalya, Charu and Simi were the ones who, along with my intern Preeti and my cousin Purva helped me pack everything and put it up in the gallery! Aren't quilting friends the best? They absolutely do not mind flying across the country to help another quilting friend!!!


The gallery was in the local mall. A place with a high footfall on the weekends because of the fact that it also has a multiplex. We worked late into night preparing for the opening the next day!


It was awesome to see it all come together...


The exhibition hall looked fabulous!!!


I had one wall of my Gelli Printed quilts, framed.


The other wall was taken up by the Naturescapes series (which was all SOLD OUT at the end of the second day!!!)


Then came the large-ish quilts.


Followed by small quilts and my favorite portraits...

At the far end, curtained off was the 88" x 85" portrait of Pramod Sir's father. No-one knew about it except me, my quilting friends, Pramod Sir himself and his two children. It was supposed to be a surprise for his entire family. His father was turning 82 that day!


The Hon. District Collector, Mr Shekhar Gaikwad was the chief guest. The whos who of Sangli was present for the opening!


Thats me and the Collector's family on the left and Preeti with Pramod Sir and his parents on the right. And yeah thats the HUGE quilt I made!!! It deserves a separate post of its own.


And this is Pramod Sir's father. I'm glad that I could capture the serene and content expressions on his face in the quilt!

But the grand opening, as awesome as it was, could not beat what happened next!!!

Okay, a little background here. When I was in my 6th grade, a wonderful lady was posted as the Superintendent of Police - Meera Borwankar. I was a teen who was super impressed by her. She was my first idol!!!

Okay fast forward 25 years to today (okay not today, but the day of my exhibition). As soon as the Collector left and we took a breath of relief, Pramod Sir got a call from him. He met Ms Borwankar at a function and wanted to bring her to see the exhibition. Currently she is the ADGP (Additional Director General of Police) Prisons!!! I think I forgot how to breathe for a while!

She is the lady who had inspired me to fearless! She is the one who had shown me that a girl can do anything not just as good as, but sometimes, better than a man!

It was the most memorable moment of my life! Meeting Ms Borwankar in person.


She not just kooled at the quilts, but asked me questions too. She looked like she was really enjoying it! How was I feeling? Honestly, I was totally star struck! It was like meeting Amitabh Bachchan - or what I think meeting him will feel like!



She was also wonderful to my Son - Aadi. He was acting very coy, but she coaxed him to answer her questions and he was all red!!! I had just told him about her a few days back, when Yakub Menon was executed. He wanted to know why they were killing him. So we told him about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and Yakub's role in it. Ms Borwankar was the one who was overlooking the execution. 


Nothing had prepared me for this moment! I had goose bumps, my heart was in my throat. I had butterflies in my stomach. I was dancing in my head. I was at the top of the world!!!

At that moment, I did not care if I sold any quilts! It just did not matter!





Thats three generations of Dandekar Daughter-in-laws! Me, my Mother-in-law and her Mother-in-law! 


And thats me and Rohit at the end of the 2 days!!! Exhausted and happy!!!

It is because of the unfailing support of Rohit and his parents that I could go ahead with this exhibition!!! So happy to have them in my life!!!

I am glad that I did this exhibition. One, I sold a lot of stuff, of course! But more important - people in Sangli came to know what I do. I always felt that what I did was not appreciated, or even understood, by my local peeps. I know I have not reached every person in Sangli yet, but yes, now a lot of them know that I do something much more than 'just regular sewing'.

What next??? No idea! But I would like to exhibit in other cities too. Maybe Mumbai or Pune! Who knows!!!
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