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Origami Oritai: The zen of folds

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-07-2017 Tanuj Kumar

There is much more to origami than meets the hand. At first glance, it seems that folding paper to create beautiful shapes is all there is to it. But wait a while. Take a square piece of paper, gently lift a corner and bring it to the centre. With the firm press of an assured hand, level the raised diagonal crease of the triangle.

When every step is executed with the concentration of a watchmaker, origami begins to unveil its subtler charms.

“I forget everything when I’m doing origami, it’s so peaceful,” says Ruchie Bhalla, president of Origami Oritai, Delhi’s only origami club, founded almost a decade ago by a Japanese expat, Hitomi Ashta, who remains active in the club.

We’re at the Japan Foundation in Lajpat Nagar, where the club is holding an exhibition, Mother Nature, and workshops until 21 July. The feel of a school exhibition belies the breathtaking craftsmanship on display.

Origami is a good example of what the Japanese call wabi-sabi, the aesthetic which celebrates the ephemeral and beautiful, like watching cherry blossoms, which bloom only for a week or two, fall. The ephemerality of a beautiful origami design is all too apparent. All it takes is the thump of a fist, or crumpling by a restless child, to destroy it.

Is the paper then a metaphor for life? We’re all given a sheet of perishable paper and we make what we will of it, with varying degrees of success. In this age of hyper-connectivity, clubs like Origami Oritai remind us to slow down, giving us a chance to transcend our material circumstances and breathe life into a humble sheet of paper where the only thing that counts is the next fold.

For details, go to the Facebook page of Origami Oritai.

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