It’s not very often we come across someone so inspiring that it makes us take a pause, look back at our own lives and retrospect if we would ever reach that level of achievement we aspire to.
I was so fortunate to come across one such person recently, Mrs. Latika Chakrabarty.
So, what is it about her that is so inspiring?
Today, at the age of 89, she is now famous as the grandmother who turns old fabric into beautiful bags. She upcycles old garments like sarees, kurtas and even cushion-covers into beautiful Potli bags.
Here is her story and a sneak peek into her life
Mrs. Latika, born in 1930 in Dhubri, Assam in a loving family, the 8th child among 14 siblings. She was an excellent student, and in days when not all women were fortunate enough to receive a good education, she was a statewide rank holder in her intermediate exam. She then graduated in BA with a History major from Guwahati University.
While in college, Mrs. L.atika got married to Mr. Krishna Lal Chakrabarty who was an officer in Survey of India. She got married while in college but completed her graduation after marriage. She has a loving family with She has 2 daughters and 1 son and 5 grandchildren.
Her husband was posted in different parts of India as a survey officer and she enjoyed traveling along with him, exploring new places. Also, for a brief period, she was teaching in Sophia Convent in Mount Abu when her husband was posted there.
Her husband passed away in 1981 and after that, she moved in with her son who was a naval officer and again had the privilege of visiting many new places.
How did her venture Latikabags come to be?
Mrs. Latika was always very creative. She always had an interest in sewing and knitting and would stitch clothes and knit sweater for her children and later grandchildren. She would also make dolls and other handicrafts and decorative articles.
Around 4 years ago she started making different potli bags from old kurtas and sarees. Initially, it was for family members and slowly she started gifting them to friends and friend of friends. They were all one of a kind and completely unique. She enjoyed making them so much that her granddaughters could flaunt a matching one with most of their outfits too. Noticing the appreciations that she received through her creations as well as her joy while creating them, her grandchildren motivated her to start an online venture. You can now buy her creations here
Mrs. Latika runs the show from her son’s apartment at Kharghar, Mumbai. Using her 64-year-old USHA sewing machine, she spends her afternoons on her creations.
She is a very disciplined woman and an early riser too. She starts her day at 5:00 am and you would always find an alarm clock (which was almost as old as her) next to the bedside. Unfortunately, that clock had to be replaced recently since it stopped working.
She loves to read and spends most of her time reading English and Bengali literature and other books of interest. She also writes short stories and journal in Bengali. She is very passionate about studies and learning new things and feels there is always something to learn new each day.
A day in the life of Mrs. Latika…
Mrs. Latika is an early riser and lives by the clock -a very disciplined life. She follows the principle – early to bed, early to rise, eating on time. She spends her day doing her own household chores, reading, watching some TV. Her afternoons are dedicated to her passion and now her business of creating Latika’s Bags. She has lots of friends in the colony and goes for a walk in the evening with them. They even enjoy their kitty parties sometimes
Living her dreams and pursuing her passion that too at an age when it is not a norm to, Mrs. Latika is full of energy, zest, and creativity. Deriving pleasure from her creativity, she is truly an inspiration to everyone around her. I feel lucky to have got to know about her. Someone, who I hope to be like.”