16 Jul , 2020
I vividly recall the first time I met Pravin dai as a potential manufacturer for Tissah. After dabbling in different career paths and dreaming varied dreams whilst always wanting to start something of my own,
I had finally gathered enough courage and taken “the leap.” I had flown to Kathmandu from Boston just a few days earlier and I wanted to hit the ground running. I had done my homework, reviewed my designs, and analyzed the issues I’d cover.
With my laptop and notebook of my designs in hand, I walked a narrow red brick path in the heart of the ancient city of Patan and into a building I instantly fell in love with. The building, which functions as a workshop and a gallery, is an architectural marvel on it’s own.
After a quick introduction, just as I was getting ready to talk business, Pravin dai said, “Bhat Khanne ho?” or literally, “Want to have some rice?” I was so taken aback by his offer that I was at a loss for words. “Bhat Khanne, ho?” He repeated. “We have a vegetarian meal today and it’s just like home cooked food! You must have some!” I had already had lunch but still in awe, all I could manage was a feeble, “okay.”
We walked across the gallery-workshop into a modest, narrow area with a few wooden benches. “We have a special guest today!” Pravin dai called out to the lady who served us. Together, with Pravin dai and some of the artisans, we had a typical Nepali vegetarian meal of rice, lentils and vegetables.
It dawned on me what I should have known all along: this is Nepal and you don’t do business until you weave relationships. And had I not stressed on wanting to stay away from the idea of mass production and be more human-oriented? I had found what I had been looking for all along.