Yesterday we had a design session with our three artisans from Chattisgarh, so today Symbala (head designer of MESH) and I supervised the artisans while they were working on the silk embroidered translations of yesterdays designs. I don’t think people realize how time-consuming sewing, tailoring and embroidery are! Nearly every button, sequin and bead on any clothing article is hand-sewn! Just because they landed a space rover on mars doesn’t mean that your Primark (UK)/ H&M/ etc. beaded cardigan is made by a hi-tech robot. From watching our skilled artisans work judiciously on the silk designs, I can appreciate the time and effort that is inputted into embroidery!
Following a scrumptious lunch (what could be better than home-made subji?!), I photographed some products for MESH’s 2013 catalogue- get excited because the new stock (as my grandpa would say) is just swell!
“And now for something completely different…. (Cue music.)”
…….. CHANDI CHOWK!
Yes, Chandi Chowk- the mother of all markets. Even though it wasn’t the best time (didn’t I mention that Delhi is drizzling?) to roam through earth’s largest market, Syamala and I braved through the rain to find cardboard boxes for Kiran Centre’s ( a centre for children with different-abilities) bakery. As I gingerly tip-toed through the market’s narrow mud-coated alleyways, I couldn’t help notice the immense potholes that arbitrarily dotted the floor. The rain filled potholes were so wide that they could be mistaken as lakes! I call them “Delhi’s Great Lakes”. Because of these “lakes” I had my eyes watching the floor, but when I did look up,(the minimum that could be seen of the sky) I noticed beautiful arches and brightly painted wooden windows. Just as William Darymple described in his book “The City Of Djinns”, Chandi Chowk is narrated with many hidden gems. These gems are unfortunately forgotten and smothered by the bustling crowds. An example for one of these “gems” is small Jain temple not far from the “paper goods” passage of the market. The now unoccupied temple only comprises of a single doorway that is ornate with ethereal floral wood carvings and large arched windows.
Chandi Chowk is quite an experience and I accumulated from it a few pointers and tips:
1. First of all, refrain from going if it’s drizzling!
2. As intriguing as the street level is, don’t forget to look up.
3. Haggle haggle haggle!
Day two at the studio and in town has been great! Thank you Syamala for guiding and accompanying me, can’t wait for tomorrow!