“About a year ago, we were ready to create our very first in-house product. It was important that it reflect values like meaning and connection” says Vatsala Murthy, founder of Indian Goods Co. This vision translated into Tohfa, a set of six greeting cards designed and produced exclusively for Indian Goods Co. by Nargis Sheikh and Zeenat Kulavoor, Mumbai-based designers and illustrators. These handprinted cards are a lovely way to to show someone you care, and are beautiful enough to be kept as a piece of art. Packaged in a custom-made box, they feature a colour palette of pastels offset by shimmering gold.
The cards celebrate communicating the old-fashioned way, by handwriting a message and sending it off in the post. “Finding a card or letter in my letterbox is such a magical thing, and makes me feel so special” says Vatsala. “Even more so in current times, where our access to one another is so restricted, and where the threat of passing something on, especially to someone more vulnerable means we need to keep distance. It’s really taking an emotional toll on people, and we need to find different ways of connecting.”
"We wanted to create something beautiful, that you'd want to display and celebrate, for their beauty as well as the message they contain” says Vatsala. “Working with Nargis and Zeenat was a wonderful experience. Their work is multi-layered and intricate, and lays emphasis on the handcrafted process, as well as aspects like memory and experience."
There were multiple steps involved in creating Tohfa: Research and photography led to to narrowing down and picking six motifs. Zeenat was instrumental in defining the mood for each card, which she did by assigning each with a word in Urdu, which she then rendered in bespoke calligraphy. Picking papers and colours was the next stage. We worked with Pritam Arts, a screen printing studio in Mumbai and they handled every stage of production, including making the box and the envelopes by hand. It was a long process, and we're very happy with the results.
We have so many ways to communicate and connect today, all literally at our fingertips, thanks to the electronic devices we’re surrounded by. Tohfa offers something touching and meaningful, creating a beautiful memory that becomes a part of your life. Each card is a message to be re-read, that brings joy, beauty and connection to every day.”
Words: Vatsala Murthy, Images: Nargis Shaikh, Zeenat Kulavoor, Vatsala Murthy