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This story is shared by Neerja Palisetty, founder of Sutrakaar Creations, on how she and her team of weavers adapted after the nationwide lockdown was imposed in India on 25 March 2020.
When India went into lockdown in March 2020, all our work at Sutrakaar Creations, which is only three years old, came to a standstill. The weavers come from nearby villages and our production is completely in-house. Once the travel was restricted in Jaipur, Rajasthan, we all were stuck. All of us were worried about our work and source of income. There was also a general feeling of helplessness because of the restrictions and dangers of Covid 19. When I called one of my weavers to check on him, Kanahiyalal sounded dejected and his first words were, 'ab kya kare...ghar pe baithe hain...kuch nahi hai karne ke liye'.
After hearing the concerns of the weavers, we started brainstorming our options. Procuring raw materials was the biggest challenge as none were available in the villages and the looms of the weavers were of different configurations. The latter made the option of fabric development out of question.
Kanahiyalal, one of our weavers, after encouragement from me, found out that one of the villagers had some single hand spun cotton yarn. He then purchased 2 kgs of it and started making 5 ply yarn, which would not require any sizing. Then the question was what to create out of it, which would reflect our work. Kanahiyalal converted 60s single hand spun yarn to 5 ply and then into 20 ply cord. It took him twenty days to complete the process.
Kanahiyalal is not very comfortable using technology and had only recently purchased a refurbished smart phone. He gradually learnt to use the video chat feature and we started creating together. I taught him a few knotting techniques. Kanahiyalal also learnt how to take pictures from his phone. All the pictures here have been taken by him with inputs from his son and me.
This whole exercise has been restorative for us all. It has given us hope and a sense of purpose at a time when the disease is threatening just that. We are still trying to navigate our way through this phase.
We invite you to share such stories with us from your own life or the people you know.
sutrakaar: the one who gives form to the yarn
sutra: thread + akaar: form
ab kya kare...ghar pe baithe hain...kuch nahi hai karne ke liye: what to do... sitting at home... there is nothing to do