Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Manipuri scarf making

I was walking a path I had walked a long time ago: 12 years to be exact. I remembered how, over a decade ago, I was fascinated with the three tribes (Manipuri, Khasia, Tripura) living near the town of Srimongol in northern Bangladesh for centuries who had uniquely different languages, cultures and of course different household technologies such as their hand-looms. Walking through the fields and tea gardens in twilight, I vaguely remembered how I had walked to one of those tribal villages. With every step, came back memories of the textile, the patterns, the clothes this tribe would wear and where I had bought textile from in 2001. Though much had changed: new shops, a small tourist center, houses with new walls; I somehow traced my steps back to Maimuni Devi's house (pictured at the top).

Maimuni Devi sold me my first ever tribal garments. She still makes the scarves; at least the base layer of the scarves.

Her daughter, Kiron, all smiles and happiness, was handling the loom inside the house. The loom was anchored to the bed-frame and against her waist to keep the fabric taut.
As it was the winter and it did get chilly outside, the loom would migrate inside where family members would take turns using the loom.
Amid laughter and the smell of incense, inspiration and imagination threaded together give birth to new patterns in new colors.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To that land, to that sunset

To the land of green and flood,
from where rose a dream in my father's passion and my mother's womb,
where the pink and purple of a winter sunset color my most intimate of wishes,
where my songs reverberate with the land,
where my dreams are millennia old and yet new, just like the morning dew,
to that land I go.