The story of the loom and the little girl

Have you ever come across the fun of seeing the fruits, you will taste, ripen in front of your eyes? Many have seen that. But, what about the spices, cardamom, cinnamon or saffron?

Have you seen the fields? Or the exquisite diamond from the mine where it comes.

I guess there is no one who wears a diamond who has actually ever seen a mine. Have you seen your saree being woven on the handloom? That is also a bit difficult I guess. Let me tell you a little story how I had the luck to do that. It may be by the virtue of luck or by heredity, I happen to hail from a small family of weavers from a non-descript town in West Bengal, named Katwa, which grew up slowly over five centuries along the banks of the Ajay River and Hooghly River.

This linkage of mine makes me close of not just a weaver or a village of weavers, but the entire community of weavers. Over time I have befriended numerous weavers and their families.

They are now so close to me that they consider me as their family member. I get enthused seeing magic flow through the weary fingers of the age old weavers, clicking and clucking on the dilapidated looms in dark and moist rooms.

The moisture of the rooms is sometimes necessary, to keep the warp yarn in tension without breaking. In a weaving village in the Gangetic West Bengal, one of those that I visit regularly to source my products, I came across a weaver who had almost completed the saree and was very keep to hand over the saree to me.

It was a truly magnificent work in red, gold, white and black woven in pure cotton (Photo 1). I offered to wait for him as he completed the work of art right in front of my eyes, pure passion blended with impeccable dexterity flowed freely through his fingers, while I watched mesmerised and still.

I resembled a little child, with the gait of a fawn, trotting along the way till I reached home.

I could not just wait to drape it on. The feel, the flow, the drape and the vibrant colours are truly spectacular.

Let us all do our bit for the weaving community. Let us use their products, support them in some way or the other. If we don’t they will leave the profession of weaving and migrate to other jobs, as already happening, and that will slowly make this form of art extinct. If we buy their products, we will continue to look beautiful, and they will continue to sustain, eventually a win-win situation.