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Journal

A Small Textile Village in West Bengal

Bengal is world known to weave the finest handwoven textiles, so we were super excited to visit this remote village in West Bengal. After more than 8 hours of a long car drive from the city of Kolkata, we arrived in this tiny village. After a quick refresh in our hotel, we were on our way to meet the weavers and artisans. It was hard to contain our excitement!

As we meandered through the narrow alleys of this village, the air was filled with the rhythmic click-clack sound from the looms. The tiny houses had their windows and doors wide open. As we stopped by their door to have a look at their magical work, we were greeted by generous smiles. Inspite of the language barrier, we communicated with gestures (some were really funny hand and head movements!). We were really touched by their warm hospitality and had local snacks and tea in each home we stopped by. 

We then arrived at a small cluster of loom weavers, who were being guided and supervised by a master weaver. We were surprised to learn that this community of weavers is physically challenged (deaf and mute) but choose to live a life of dignity instead of letting their physical disabilities dictate their way of living! The local handloom school, run by the district, trains them in various weaving techniques, starting at a very early age. This visit really got us thinking about many aspects of our own life.. how privileged we all are and how little time we spend practicing gratitude and compassion for others. They truly were inspiring and we are proud and grateful to be working with them for our handwoven linen textiles! 

 

 

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Meet Khimji Bhai ❤️

A story which touched my heart. Our first visit to one of the most renowned weaver families in a small village of Gujarat, we were introduced to Khimji Bhai. He was sitting quietly in a corner under the shed on a sunny afternoon and sorting the local wool fibers. He was wearing a plain white kurta and dhoti, a local traditional dress for men and had a sort of zen look on his face. Though other weavers were curious to know more about the visitors and everyone said hello to us, Khimji Bhai was engrossed in his work. He gave us one glance and got back to sorting the wool.

 Couple days passed by and while we were engaged with the other weavers behind the loom, we never got any attention from Khimji Bhai. Tea breaks, lunch breaks, Khimji Bhai was always in his corner doing his work. He rested once in a while but never spoke to any of us. I asked my fellow weaver about him and then we heard something we never though of. 

 Khimji Bhai is 72 years old (I know!) and is the oldest member of the weaving community. He comes to work every single day and works as much as any other weaver! We were pointed towards one pair of slippers which looked unusual to us. These were no ordinary pair of slippers. They belonged to Khimji Bhai. He has been wearing these slippers since last 15 years and were made by his late son for him. He never lets go of these. If anything tears, he repairs them with whatever he finds around him and make them sturdy again. There were bits of old tyres, leather, nails, wood, metal etc. These now weigh more than 3 kgs!!! Every year in March, Vankar community walks to their temple in Rajasthan for 20-25 days continuously covering 700 kms. Khimji Bhai walks every year without fail for 700 km wearing his precious slippers in memory of his late son. He never complains and always has a smile on his face. His source of happiness now is - his grandchild. 

 Fun fact about him - he loves to eat sweets and has them for lunch and dinner while we try and avoid them at half his age!

We can't wait to visit him again! ❤️ Continue reading