Most of us might be aware of the pristine beauty of the North East; some have even been lucky enough to visit this region of India that encompasses eight states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
However, negative aspects such as incidents of violence and terrorism in this region often grab more attention, pushing all its glory to the backburner. Disturbed by this impression, National Institute of Design (NID) alumnus Arpit Agarwal wanted to do something about these views when he launched NEST, his stationery brand: “The common perception is that the North East is about terrorism, insurgencies and ruthlessness.
Though people talk about its beauty, few actually visit this region to experience it. My idea and effort is to use local resources and cultural symbols of the North East to take this region to the rest of India, and the world, so people learn about its little-known essence,” explains the Dibrugarh born 29-year-old.
The brand offers notebooks, journals and lifestyle products, inspired by symbols, culture and crafts of this picturesque and unexplored paradise. Presently, Agarwal uses graphics from Assam, Nagaland and Manipur for his products, but will include every state, in the region, eventually.
Agarwal explains that while the notebooks are made in Assam, products like coffee mugs, key chains and coasters are sourced from neighbouring states due to unavailability of quality manufacturing, locally.
He adds that the products are priced reasonably as well with the starting point being R169. Agarwal is also trying to expand his range of products to accommodate more items.
“I am also working on a project on reviving Assamese jewellery and have conducted workshops on bamboo, cane and jewellery in the North East region. I want to use these and many more crafts of the North East and create and promote these products,” he reveals.
However, until he branches out, he’s happy with these stationery wonders, “Stationery makes for great souvenirs and gifts. It can be used by people across age groups,” he signs off.
At Loose Ends, shop 1, off Linking Road, Bandra (W).
Also available online at tadpolestore.com and yellowtrunk.com