Pondy’s ‘Aura’ handcrafted behind bars
It’s the usual dusk hour scene along Puducherry’s promenade, streets bustling with tourists, waves crashing to the sound of music and vendors busy stacking products. While some follow the aroma of hot coffee and head towards quaint little cafes, others go in search of pretty, little souvenirs in the roadside shops. Amidst all the cute stores, a sea-facing and aesthetically pleasing ‘Aura’ stands out. The highlight of Aura Experience Store is definitely its products but the story behind the making of some of them will leave you in awe.
Cut to Puducherry central prison. A few inmates are engrossed in handcrafting and other art works. A few are assisted, while others give an impression of being professionals. From colourful wall decors and stitched garments to classic wooden tea trays and handbags — they hand-craft everything.
As part of an initiative by Puducherry prison authorities in association with Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS) to impart life skills under the Auro model prison project, the inmates here have been putting together multiple handmade items for the past one-and-a-half years.