Once again all of Amber gathered at the Anokhi Museum for an afternoon of festivities with hosts, Museum Supervisors, Jitendra Chaturvedi and Pavan Saini, supported by staff members, Jagdish Prasad Meena, Rampal Meena and craftsmen ‘Cha-Cha’ and Mujeeb Bhai.
Every September we look forward to this fun party – a festive gathering of our neighbours and an opportunity to update the town about upcoming events. There is always plenty of chai and samosas to go around, plus tours of the museum are available throughout the afternoon. Everyone enjoys printing with the assistance of our on-site craftsman, and attendees returned home with their own hand printed handkerchief, bag or scarf.
We are really proud of this event. When the museum opened in 2005 the people of Amber were unsure of us; in fact, we were ALL a bit wary of one another. A museum tucked amongst the homes in Amber was a strange concept. Our challenge was to explain ourselves, introducing the museum as an educational venue for them too. In short, we needed to become user friendly to the people next door.
Not surprisingly, our local staff was invaluable and ‘spread-the-word’. By our first Samosa Party four years ago, almost every child had visited us on a school trip, so parents were curious to peek inside the once derelict haveli mansion.
On September 14th the party had a different feel. The original 40 attendees now numbered almost five hundred!! Today we can count on our neighbours to not only direct tourists here, but to also drop by occasionally for a visit. In turn, our friends want us to provide a welcoming educational experience for their families. It works for everyone! The Samosa Party was a true celebration – a bit more than a party. It was a happy occasion to gather in the spirit of cultural exchange, learning and friendship!
Text: Suki Skidmore
Photographs: Abdul Salaam