Saturday, June 26, 2021

Traditional embroideries of India part -2


In your jam-packed closet you always look for a cool outfit with light embroidery especially in summers. Most of the time you pick up white Chikankari dress for casual wear. Chikankari is also known as ‘The Shadow Work’ as it was done to create a shadow effect on the cloth. It was traditionally done with white thread on white organdie, silk muslin or chiffon fabric. The most commonly used motif was mango which we better known as ‘Ambi’ designs. The other motifs were taken from the surroundings and daily life like leaves, flowers and dots. Most common used stitches were herringbone, button hole, chain stitch, French knot, satin and stem stitch. It was done on sarees, borders, pillow covers, blouses, kurtas, caps, shoes, handkerchiefs etc. Now a day’s Chikankari work is available on different colour fabrics that too with multi-coloured threads.

Namda is traditional embroidery of Kashmir along with Kashida. Kashida was done on silk fabric with vibrant colour silk threads with satin, stem and chain stitch. The floral motifs like lotus, lily, and tulip were common along with grapes, plums, almonds, cherries etc. Whereas Namda was embroidered using chain stitch on jute with woollen threads of green, blue, yellow and mahroon colour. Motifs were inspired from nature like parrot, woodpecker and floral designs. 

Kathiawar embroidery is famous in Kathiawar, Sindh. It was done on cream colour khaddar kesmant with cotton threads of red, green, blue and pink colour. Sindhi stitch was the most commonly used stitch in the embroidery, which is basically a four step process of interlacing threads. It was used along with chain stitch, herringbone stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch and buttonhole stitch. It was used to decorate torans (wall hangings) and chaklas (square clothe).

Kantha Embroidery was done mostly in Bengal on four or five layers of old cotton sarees that were sewn as well as embroidered together using small running stitches. The threads used in embroidery were drawn from the red colour border of sarees. Mostly they used for making small pouches to keep combs and other items.

I would have told you about Kasuti embroidery but the page from my file is missing! ;)

Traditional embroideries of India part -1 is here

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Traditional embroideries of India part -1


Embroidery is the ornamentation of fabric with needlework. It is the most interesting and pleasing art. It was most widely practiced by homemakers as a domestic craft. But with the fast development and technological advancement most of ancient arts of India are fast disappearing as nobody has the time and patience to embroider the designs on fabric. The young generation love to spend rather waste time on gadgets rather than creating something innovative with their hands. Moreover, the machine embroidery is becoming popular because of its low cost. Hence, traditional embroideries done by hand are dying a slow death.

Let us have a sneak peek into the vast varieties of Indian embroideries. You must have heard about Pulkari. What is so unique about Pulkari done by hand? It has invisible stitches on its backside. Have not noticed it? Pulkari done by machines lack this feature. Traditionally Pulkari was done by mothers on khaddar kesmant fabric (hand spun and hand woven) to gift their daughter at the time of their wedding in Punjab when Haryana constituted a part. The geometrical patterns were created with long and short darning stitch by untwisted silken floss of golden yellow, green, crimson red or orange colour. Chaddar, dupatta, shawl and kurta were decorated.

Manipur embroidery was famous for its animal and insects motifs like elephant, butterfly, sheep etc. stitched on khaddar cotton fabric with pat, untwisted silken floss with tiny satin stitches. This embroidery was used to embellish bed cover, cushion cover, tablecloth, wall hanging and shawls.

Dancing peacocks, dolls and human figures were common motifs of Kutch embroidery, which was done on black satin with chain stitch in vibrant colours like red, pink, yellow, brown. It was used to beautify ghagra (skirt), cholis(top) and toran (wall hanging) etc.


Traditional embroideries of India part -2 is here


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Life is tough!

 A tear erupted from his eye as his colleague gently thrust food in his mouth. The morsel of chapatti wrapped around a lady finger was just as he liked it - not too spicy or too plain - and almost as good as home-cooked; yet it made him cry. Inder chewed on it reluctantly for a few seconds and forced it down his parched throat.

 He glanced around the room which has become his humble abode for a while. The walls were spotlessly white-washed. Blue curtains were drawn partially on the windows to shield the brightness and heat of the October sun. On the other side of his bed a white partition provided some token privacy from the occupants of the room. He was lying on a white iron-frame bed on which a spotless white sheet was spread. Two small holes almost the size of a rice grain was visible near his knee. A stainless steel table stood on the side. A dented steel glass, two spoons with different designs, a dirty steel plate, a Bisleri bottle half-filled with tap water, an old Nokia mobile, two brown pens and lots of colourful pills and bottles were competing for space on it. A creaky cane chair stood on one side. They had to pay extra for it, but Inder wasn't too sure if it was suitable for sitting on.

 He was wearing a sky blue gown which hung loosely on his skinny body. The hospital staff had been adamant that he wear their gown and not his own clothes. The tears in his eyes made everything look blurred. A blurred corner of handkerchief came towards his eyes.

“Inder Singh, if you will lose courage now, you will lose the battle of life. Be brave and use your brain to come out of this trouble,” said Sumit, his colleague.

“Without hands?” Inder said, unable to keep disappointment out of his voice.

“Be brave and use your brain.” Sumit repeated, and put a spoonful of curd in his mouth, which Inder gulped half-heartedly.

“I will not be able to do my present job.”

“You will find a better one! This might not had been the right job for you and I am sure that some better job is waiting for you!” He put one more morsel in his mouth.

“Ya! What's the use of a job which puts my life at risk?” said Inder, his voice muffled with sobs and food in his mouth.

“I found you unconscious under the metallic pipe.” Sumit told. Inder started to recall the events of that fateful night.

“I was just doing my usual routine. Before leaving for home every night, I check that the boiler fire source is closed. I tried to tighten the knob, but even after three complete rounds of the handle it was still too loose. That's when I realised that the spring must have broken! It was a set up! Someone was jealous of my promotion last month and knew my routine. But there was no time to think. The pressure was building up very rapidly. I was trying to prop open the release valve with both hands, when the pipe connecting the boiler and the dying container started creaking. I should have stepped back, but I thought the jammed valve would open any second.  When the heavy pipe dropped on my hands, I lost my balance and fell down, trapped under the pipe. I could hear my bones crack! It was just too painful! I must have screamed loud enough to crack the concrete walls of the factory. I tried to pull my hands once but that only made the pain worse! After that I must have blacked out. Next thing I remember is waking up in this room."

Sumit picked up the thread of story from him and continued to narrate further “I had just started my night duty at the entrance gate when I heard you screaming. I rushed towards the boiler and found you unconscious. Without wasting a single part of a second, I pressed the emergency button. Alarms rang all around. Meanwhile I found a metal stirrer lying nearby and tried to use it as a lever to raise the pipe. Three more guards came running and joined me in raising the pipe. One two and three… we all shouted in chorus.. The pipe just rose by a few inch. The others hung on with all their might while I dragged you out. We rushed you to the hospital in an ambulance.”

“This is a costly hospital. You should have taken me to some cheaper place. All my savings are draining out in the treatment,” Instead of being thankful to his colleague Inder complained.

“You can earn and save more once this difficult period is over,” Sumit tried his best to raise Inder's spirits.

“Saying so is quite easy but how can I earn when I am not even able to do my personal work.”

“Nothing is impossible. You can do whatever you wish.”

“I can’t feed myself. You are feeding me.” Tears rolled down Inder's cheeks again, he tried to hide his face behind the stumps of his hands.

“Any movement of your hands will delay recovery.” Sumit reminded him of the doctor’s advice.

“I can’t bathe myself. I can’t change my dress. I can’t even hold a glass of water to my mouth when I am feeling thirsty. And to top it all, I can’t even open the zip to pee.” Inder felt defeated.

 Sumit kept the half-eaten plate aside and started fiddling with his mobile. He showed Inder a video in which a woman with no hands was leading a normal life and doing all household chores as well as any other housewife. For a few minutes Inder felt better and accepted a few more morsels, but then again a cloud of depression came from some unknown source to wrap him. Seeing him sad, Sumit took out a paper cutting from his purse and put it in front of Inder so that he could have a good view of a cheerful girl.

“Sexy?” He teased Inder to change mood. He looked up irritatingly with wet eyes. Sumit winked a little and asked again. 

“Even if then what?” Inder’s anger was reflected in his words.

Sumit picked up the cutting, turned the folded paper upward so that Inder could have a full view of the photo and the article below it.

“Hell! She has no hands!!”

“As you can see she is standing in an aircraft. She is a pilot.” Sumit explained.

Inder read aloud, "Jessica Cox, 25, a girl born without arms, the girl from Tucson, Arizona got the Sport Pilot certificate lately and became the first pilot licensed to fly using only her feet. With one foot manning the controls and the other delicately guiding the steering column, she soared to achieve a Sport Pilot certificate. Her certificate qualifies her to fly a light-sport aircraft to altitudes of 10,000 feet.”

“Yup! I always carry her inspiring story in my pocket. Any time I am feeling down, I look at her photo.”


“So dear friend, focus your energy and attention on your abilities rather than disabilities. You have to use your foot as your hands for doing chores. He asked Inder to pick up the cotton piece in between his right toe and moved leg towards his face to clean the tiny droplets of the terrible past.

Inder cried more, uncontrollably this time. Sumit was confused but decided to let Inder clear out his pent-up emotions. A couple of minutes later Inder in between sobs said, “I lied to you my buddy. I lied.”

Sumit frowned but didn't say anything, waiting for Inder to say more.

“When you were away to fetch the food from cafeteria my mobile had rung, I picked it up from the table using my toes. On seeing the screen, I came to know that it was from my mother. I pressed the buttons and hold it near my ear using my toes. My mother told me that my wife left me for her lover on hearing about my accident. Actually I was not crying for my hands but for my wife as I loved her very much.

Sumit totally dumfounded threw himself back on the cane chair. ‘Life is tough!’ he mumbled. The chair creaked in unison.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Hanged Man


The Hanged Man!

I was surprised to see this card when I pulled out a tarot card from the deck to know my future. At that time, I was working as a Lecturer of Fashion Designing in a reputed college of the town. I was living a lavish life; going to college, giving lectures, reading books, listening to music, watching movies, going to relatives’ house on weekends and enjoying life fully. This XII card from Major Arcana showed that something important and transforming is going to happen next in my life!

It was mid January.

In the first week of February, my father asked me to join a training course of trps (Tax Return Preparer Scheme) which provided the basic knowledge to assist small and medium taxpayers in the preparation of filing their income tax return. Although I used to love teaching designing but unfortunately there was no growth in that profession neither materialistically nor academically. I tried hard to grow but found myself trapped in the stagnant environment. Therefore, I eagerly accepted his offer and left my job in a hope of a better profession growth in some other field.

All of a sudden, I jumped from textiles and dresses to numbers and figures. I found it hard to grasp income tax related information because of my non-commerce background. My batch mates which were from commerce background helped me a lot by explaining rules, by giving their 12th standard books to me so that I could do more exercises and by clearing my doubts. Because of their corporation, I cleared the exam with flying colours.

A few months later my father fell ill. I had to join his business as my brother was out of the country at that time. My leisured life became hectic. I did not know anything about his business except that the income could be divided into five heads i.e. income from salary, income from house property, business income, capital gains and income from other sources which I had learned in trps course. I was on my toes all the time attending business calls, running from one office to another, giving instructions to employees, looking after my father, helping my mother in managing house. For the next eight month, I did not find time to watch a single movie.

One day, my mother asked, “What do you want as a gift on your birthday?”

“I want to sleep like a baby!” I replied.

She was a bit surprised as my reply was not usual- chole bhature but was just sound sleep.

The Hanged Man turned my life upside down; from enjoying leisured life to ultra hectic life.


Pic – The Hanged Man is an image of an man who is hanging upside down. Tied with his right ankle, he is suspended from a tree, and is viewing the world from very different prospective with calmness and serenity.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mindful observation


Yesterday, Black Lotus Act was 2 minutes of mindful observation of any object like a flower or a stone. Earlier I had done tried it on cloud, tree and flower. A bead was lying beside me; I decided to try my luck on it. I placed it a considerable distance and focus my eyes on it. I did not blink my eyes like in tratak exercise. Slowly the surroundings around the bead vanished and only bead was left, shining brightly and firmly.  

It was so serene that even after 2 minutes my mind did not want to come back into the world. It yearned to stay there forever. Most probably, I did mindful observation for near about 5 minutes or may be more as time swiftly passes went mind is calm.

From the past two years, I was suffering from hypermetropia, which means I could clearly see the objects at far off place but the vision of nearby object was blurred. When I visited the eye specialist last time, he suggested me to pull for some more time without spectacles as I could hold the reading material at a significant distance and could clearly read without any problem. In COVID lockdown because of excess use of laptop and mobile, my eyesight deteriorated and I found it difficult to read. The letters in front of me were blurred either fully or partially depending upon the distance from eyes. I found it very difficult to read on paper but I was able to read and write on laptop. Moreover, I was hesitant to go to a doctor because of increase number of corona cases in vicinity.


Next morning rather I must say today morning, I opened the book ‘The Ancient Science of Mantras’ to read Sri Suktam.

हिरण्यवर्णां हरिणीं सुवर्णरजतस्रजाम् 
चन्द्रां हिरण्मयीं लक्ष्मीं जातवेदो  आवह ॥१॥

WOW!! I could clearly read every single word without dragging the book to a considerable distance from my eyes to form a clear image on my retina. Without making any adjustments with the book, I was clearly able to read. My eyes had grown younger in just one day.


It was a side effect of 5 minutes of mindful observation.

Later, I checked my eyesight on the tiny font of Blue Ocean Strategy and it was clearly visible and readable to me! I was on cloud nine! :)


Pic – The two different size of fonts from the book Blue Ocean Strategy.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Truth in the air


“Sir, please put my file on the madam’s table.” I politely said to the clerk. Although he was on higher designation but for the sake of telling this story lets us demote him.

“I am giving you next date. Please come after one month.” He made his usual remark.

He had already delayed my work for a long time by making excuses like I am not feeling well today, today is audit - the whole team would be here any moment, I am too busy, I will definitely do it on the next day............the list was endless. Enough is enough; I was not in a mood to hear useless excuses anymore. I wanted my file to move to the next table. That’s all!

“Put my file on madam’s table otherwise.............” I said the same words in a harsh tone leaving the rest to his imagination.

His tone became ultra polite and said, “Madam, You can see how many files are there in my office?”

I glanced the room, which was packed with files. Although I had been to that office, many times but I had never given any importance to the appearance of the office. There were files in the almirahs, there were files on the almirahs, there were files in between the almirahs, there were files on the table, there were files under the table, there were files on the side table, there were files under the side table and there were files stacked all along the wall. In the whole room, there was only one place where there was still some space to accommodate a few more files and that was dark brown coloured ceiling fan. It was vacant may be because he was short heighted.

“I have to search your file in these piles of files and if I do not find it here then I will go to the store, search your file there and bring it back. This whole process will take some time. Please come after one hour.”

I looked at my mobile watch and said, “It is 10:45am. I will come sharp at 11:45am.”

“Sure, madam.”


After one hour.....

When I was just about to enter his office, he hurriedly came out of his office and on seeing me he said, “Madam, Please wait of some more time, a rat has died.”

“What!” I had never heard of such a brainless excuse in my whole life. He must had created a new excuse out of nowhere. “How is this possible?” I asked him but he was not there. With lightening speed, he vanished in that crowded corridor.

To confirm, I moved towards his office. Everything was fine. Liar! Liar! Liar! And I took one more step. Yuck! I could smell the truth in the air!  

I could not dare to go further and hastily step back.

“Files tumbled upon the poor creature and it died.” He came from nowhere and uttered in low tone as if somebody known to him had died.

It was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!


Pic – I read the book ‘Mr. Chinki’ a few years back.:)