Gauri ~ Spinner of Yarns
Meet Gauri Raje, the spinner of yarns - a storyteller who spent half her life trying to make sense of it all.
Her journey is an enthralling one - as enchanting as the stories she now narrates to motley crowds. So here’s her story of how she came to become a storyteller, as narrated by her in her own words ~
“I was in school when I discovered that I could not learn anything until it made ‘sense’. Math made sense to me at age 13, when I discovered that algebra was akin to music. I studied anthropology in search of answers to a question I encountered at age 17 ‘What is the language of fishes?’ I worked and lived with displaced adivasi groups in south Gujarat where I found discipline, generosity and joy of living at the edge of the wilderness.
Sometime in my early 40s, I found that even after living a life of an academic researcher in the UK for 15 years, it still did not make ‘sense’ to me. I quit my career as a university-based researcher. Being a migrant in the UK had slowly led to a feeling of uprootedness, dislocation and then, a fear of public speaking. It birthed a question - ‘Can first generation migrants ever make home?’ My PhD research had been around narratives, and I decided to try telling stories instead of writing about them. The first time I told a story, I began to feel the contours of my body arrive in England and for the first time, felt the earth beneath my feet. I began to arrive home.
This led not only to more telling of stories, mainly non-Indian; but work with refugees and migrants to learn from them. They were not only less privileged in their migratory journeys than me, but also had intimate experience of my question, making them my elders.
I now have the confidence and commitment to call myself a storyteller - crafting and telling stories is my bridge to myself, my family and my tribe - human and other-than-human. It is my way to remember and re-‘member’. I believe that to be displaced, whether you are a migrant or not, is to have forgotten and in that forgetting we begin to lose our connection to various worlds and ourselves. Telling stories is my way to re-‘member’what we have consigned to the forests of forgetting.
Gauri now lives to tell stories to adults - wherever she is invited. She has told stories in theatre spaces, at community halls, in barns, in private homes, prisons, around fireplaces and on terraces. Occasionally, she is asked to tell stories to children in schools-mainly non-European stories to give the children a window into a different world. Gauri believes ‘a storyteller needs to first be a story listener’.
People spend years looking for their ikigai - that which makes sense, that which gives them a sense of purpose and makes their everyday life worthwhile and joyous. One must look deeper and not give up no matter how long it takes!
This black lava necklace is aptly named after Gauri - the pendant is actually a vintage Kutchi earring I found on my travel to the Rann of Kutch two years ago in a dusty shop in Bhuj. I waited long before I used this piece and I’m so happy this necklace is called Gauri ~ The Spinner of Yarns . The long necklace represents her long journey of finding herself and the beautiful pendant at the end of it symbolises Gauri’s arrival home.
Details : length : Clasp to clasp 32 inches
Material : Volcanic lava; Vintage Kutchi pendant; Sterling silver clasp and accents.