“We have always been weavers, as far as memory goes. I was born in the middle of tight spindle schedules of yarn spins and hard pounds of pit looms. These chaotic walls of thundering noise make me feel at ease, at home.
My father got these English-built handlooms along with these heavier Mysore-built machines; we were the proudest cloth makers here. These huge machines have been fed yarn by generations of weavers who have made the finest of fabrics. They've seen this beautiful country get its independence and made tricolours for joy. They've fed clusters of hard-working families around us and raised buildings and whole societies. They stand silent today.
Every time these machines stop, it brings a great disaster for everyone around us. I feel scared again. My memory scares me. This body has made peace with losing sight and sound, yet my mind digs and goes back.
Silent, eerie and disturbing. I hate every moment that goes by like this.”
-Md. Ekram Ansari, 89, Weaver.
“What are they saying about this? How long do you think this will take? People in my mohalla said it has to do with jamaat. I don’t know if this disease strikes on the basis of religion. Thankfully groups have started providing food and necessary items. The government is also providing extra ration and money this time. I went to the ward and collected extra rice this morning; there were a lot of us waiting in lines.
There’s no work at the mill since all this started. I would work the fields in the day and dye yarn at night. Now I go to bed early only to be at the farm sooner every morning. Rabi season is around the corner and I could prepare the field better this time. While I'm working now, it will take some time to reap.
Truthfully, I haven’t seen my hands this clean in a long time. Strong bleaches take time to fade but look at this — clean. I might consider farming full time again.
-Bedanand, 53, Dyer.
“Economists are expecting the worst slowdown after this pandemic. It will probably take more time to revive and get all supply chains sorted again. If the whole thing isn’t curbed soon, we might lose a lot of people to Corona. People have come from far-away villages to pick-up food for families in their neighbourhoods. It’s a mess out there.
The Food & Necessities Distribution at NGO is increasing our capacity to feed 750 to 1200 people starting tomorrow. There are families to be fed and we don’t have enough working hands. We are asking people who come to pick up food to come a little earlier and help us.”
-Harshal, 21, Textile Student.
Only now have we realised the potential of something so micro that can hit the world at a macro level and bring it down to its knees. Is this nature’s way to bring balance or yet another revolt by nature against hideous human crimes that have led to immense environmental impacts over decades? We have avenged the highest mountains, deepest trenches, longest flights, and farthest corners of this huge planet, creating memories and documenting everything worthy, calling it history and reclaiming it over and again, made a mark on anything and everything; yet none of that matters in this pandemic.
We need to be humane again. We have been consumed in life and meanwhile have lost the way of living. We now need to come together and stay away from each other. Distancing now, from all the history and chemistry we share, for only that would now help us get through the worst.
A weaver, a dyer & a textile student who once worked together in bringing back fabric from the ‘60s and then taking it all the way to the ramp for nationally awarded designers, yet today are separate entities in this world project. They probably take us into their thought process for a small time-frame of the current situation and their ways of dealing with it, yet somehow, they play a major role in keeping the fashion industry alive and kicking. They are the minuscule hidden screws that keep the planks together in this huge global institution of fashion but if we somehow slip into Corona’s plan, we just might start losing these small screws one by one thus weakening the mighty institution.
Let’s get through this together and stronger for a better & brighter future.