Over the years, the humble 'soap' has evolved. Gone are the days where it was just a plain-coloured bar that only had its place in a bathroom. Nowadays, 'artisanal soaps' have become quite the fad. Several people on the internet are mastering the art of creating such an item from scratch, making an attractive design as well as it make it smell heavenly.
These soaps are mostly consumed as a creative relic, for all intents and purposes. However, one cannot imagine it 'cleaning' the filthy minds of our politicians or give out a strong message into the society. This changed when a Mumbai-based woman named Vidyut Gore came up with such a collection, that was nothing but mind-boggling.
Started Out As An Artistic Outlet
When Gore's son was born in 2009, she decided to celebrate Diwali that year by gifting everybody something unique. She dabbled into soap making out of curiosity. Her first batch was a huge success. "Everyone who received them appreciated them. A friend asked me to make a batch for her for gifting. I'm an artist by heart. By then, the plain soaps you commonly see as handmade soaps were too....insipid for me. So I started making them interesting," she explained her thought process to The Logical Indian.
From a creative outlet, it went on to become a way to make ends meet. She had separated from her husband in 2014 and was living with her son, who was disabled. That year, she sold 20 to 40 soaps and earned the necessary money she needed. However, she still maintains that it is more of an artistic endeavour than business. Gore says, "I sold a couple of batches a year till 2014 when I separated from my husband. Living with a disabled child, money was an issue and I started taking it more seriously. But still it is more art than business, always has been."
"Do You Have A Soap To Clean The Language Of Trolls?"
Calling herself a 'sort of digital handyman,' Vidyut Gore has always been an active political commentator. It was one comment asking her about something to 'clean the language of trolls' that got her thinking. From then on, she started to make soaps that, indirectly, had a political message attached to it. An example of this is called 'Kamal ka Fool', that shows the 'sacred' lotus in 'red stained water.'
Another soap called 'Kashmir' shows the famous Chinar leaves beautifully etched on the block, giving an essence about what this heavenly valley is currently going through. A 'Black Day' soap was also created on the day the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed that resulted in nationwide protests.
Each of them endorse a particular political view. However, Gore feels that it is more about what one associates with it, rather than the opinion behind it. "While I admit the subjects are inspired by my political views, it isn't so much about pushing a political view so much as provoking thought and leaving it to the viewer/user. They are great conversation starters- as gifts, to simply see a tweet about an interesting soap even if you never buy it," she quipped.
Her other soaps also include one called 'Monsoon' and another one called 'Limlet'. She hopes the latter reminds of the delicious and citrusy toffee that was an integral part of many people's childhood.
What's Next In The Pipeline?
Next, she is hoping to highlight freedom of speech in a soap. Another thought that she wants to work on is about Shaheen Bagh and the role it played in the Anti-CAA protests. "This is just an idea evolving in my head head and nothing is concrete yet," she added.
At the end of the day, she wants her artwork to make people think. She wants the viewers to really interpret her designs and start a conversation about the same. "It is the reach of the ideas that makes it so big, leaves something in the mind to ponder," she added.