On our 2019 trip to India we traveled to Nalbari village in Assam to visit Ramani Barman, who is making cane wood ribs for our Vikalp scythe cradles. Greeted by a humble yet confident man in good spirits, we entered a small courtyard consisting of a traditional ikra dwelling and several additional bamboo/mud structures. My first impression was functional simplicity and cleanliness.

After a brief tour of his garden and a cup of tea, we went to work; to be accurate, Ramani went to work while we watched. Even before he started, I noticed how his hand-tools were stored: organized and well cared for. It was a real treat to watch this craftsman at work; with the ease of a master, his moves deliberate, following the path of least resistance. The product is finished with care, yet not ‘overdone’. Ramani is making several thousand of these ribs for us this year.

With occupation that only requires locally grown materials, hand-tools and his skills, he is providing his family with a simple but dignified life. With his low-carbon footprint, Ramani’s lifestyle is a good example of sustainable living and the importance of skills.