The sun rose spreading its rays over the horizon, the water glistened, the birds chirped, the leaves rustled. I walked to work, taking in the morning and all its splendor. Opening the shutters to my workshop, I recalled my days as a child. Holidays meant days spent at the workshop. I loved spending time with the others at work, trying out a thing or two—having the time of our lives. My mischief knew no bounds. I laugh now, when I think of the time I fell into the dye bath. The chemicals were so strong that I couldn’t open my eyes for a few days.
Having recently been awarded the UNESCO Award of Excellence, I remembered my early days and how I got to where I am now. I had meandered slowly. Lost my path a few times. And now, seven years since I took off on my own, I am still learning. I have a thirst to learn. My father shares with us his experience too. Often, when I don’t listen, he tells me it is my loss. He has a name and quality well established.
I have introduced machines to our work. They increase the speed of the process and keep things clean. I think they enhance the experience. As times go by, I do not think that the coming generations will stay in this craft as it is. Things do need to develop. The machines work with first steps in the process of the craft, like removing starch. Machines set the base for all the handwork that follows.
There has been a change in the products we create too. The market we cater wants stoles, saris and the like. It works well for us. Less work and more pay. I work more on orders. Traveling often to the South of India to source material.
Stepping into the workshop, as I see the rows of tables lined, waiting to begin the day’s work, a broad smile draws across my face.