Whats with Womens Day!

So it was Women’s Day yesterday…well I am a woman and it was just another day apart from some random forwards and Happy Women’s Day wishes from friends and people whom I have not spoken to in ages! No I don’t mean to hurt any sentiments but seriously I feel our virtual reality has become so important and powerful that we forget our real lives…..

My friend: So what gift did you get today from your husband?

Me: Why should I get a gift today?

Friend: Its Womens Day! Aren’t you going out ? Nothing special?

Me: Blah! Blah!

No I don’t want any gift from my husband or from anyone I would just like them to be supportive and acknowledge all that I do…my husband to give me that hand when I am lost emotionally, give me a pat when I achieve the smallest of my goals, my friends to applaud my success and support me when I am in doubt and not shy away with their egos, my acquaintances to be little less judgemental (because you don’t know me!) and everyone else who passes by my life to give me respect because I AM A WOMAN….not just today but EVERYDAY.

The Laal Paad Narrative

A mark of tradition and good luck charm in Bengalis, Laal Paad sarees are a calling for new beginnings and joy. There are numerous places in and around Kolkata where these are woven mechanically or by hand. I chanced upon this small village near Kolkata, Chakda weaving this enchanting story in red and white. On a personal note, I had fallen in love at first sight (along with my Bengali beau!) with these beauties!

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Destarching before printing

Some years ago during my random visit to the villages around Kolkata I came across this village where every house had a loom weaving only these Laal Paad shada saree. Most of these weavers were supplying it to the local shops in Kolkata, at very meager prices just to make their ends meet. Each of these sarees  take about 5-8 days if only one person is weaving, but generally it is the whole family doing it. With very poor returns, some of them had already moved to the city in search for better jobs and opportunities or moved to power looms for a faster turnout. Initially it was a challenge to be able to convince them to do what I envisioned.                                                                        If you have ever worked in Kolkata and you are not a Bengali, and not speaking Bengali you’ll know what I mean! Anyhow, I speak as fluent Bengali now like any other born Bengali would 🙂                                                                                       We worked closely with the weavers getting them back to what they did best and created this collection of Laal Paads which stand apart with their Satin Silk borders . On a regular basis the Laal Paads are woven in all kinds of fabric bases like silk, cotton, chanderi etc. with plain  and myriad weave patterns. We wanted to create a range which had the lightness of cotton but with the richness of silk. The body of the saree is in Bengal cotton and the borders are in satin weave with the silk coming on top adding the sheen to the neutral off white base. The temple and floral motifs and a splash of gold zari here n there highlight the uniqueness of the saree. The combination of block prints on the saree is like a confluence of two unique styles of adornment.

Block printing

Block printing

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Block printed Laal Paads

For me these sarees are like my first love, quite literally! Discover them yourself, make your own stories with them, make your own conversations because there is always a little bit of You that you imbibe when you wear a saree.

Go on, make conversations!

Much love

Madhubani Trails continued….

                                                      The Journey

                 Bangalore – Delhi – Patna – Madhubani – Jitwarpur
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It is about a day long journey to the place,using almost all modes of travel! By the time you reach the village, dusk falls over the long stretches of greens everywhere and you can hear the jhingurs(night insects) in the still of the night and if it is summers you can see the fireflies too,lighting up the sky!

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The road that was never built

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The serene walk through the village

I normally start my day early when I go to villages like everyone else there, as after dusk you cannot work with no lights in the village. I had been mostly working from Madhubani earlier, but this time I went further down, about 20 kms to Jitwarpur which is believed to be the place from where it all originated. A small village with about 100 odd houses, each one having its own story of art.

My lead artist Lambodar Ji took me through a tour of the village and I had the privilege to visit some of the gems of this art. One of them, Mithilesh Jha who is also a national awardee tells me a very interesting story of how it all started…

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Mithilesh Ji’s house exterior, painted with Madhubani patterns

You enter Mithilesh Ji’s house and you know you are just in the right place. Painted motifs of fish adorn the exteriors of the house, you walk in and the walls and curtains everything is a medium of expression there, full of art. We sat down for a chat and chai, and he begins to speak fondly of Sita Devi, his grandmother who was awarded Padam Shree for being the scion of this art, took this art far and wide internationally. She came from a Brahmin family and had a typical style of depicting Gods and Godesses and other everyday life and festivals through her paintings. In the 1960s a Chinese researcher had visited her along with Indira Gandhi and was very influenced by the art. She later came to the village and saw women with Godana (tattooes done on women which looked like jewellery) on their bodies and asked her if she could depict those in the form of paintings. Being a Brahmin, Sita Devi refused as it was formidable for her to do the job of Nats, the low-caste people. She called Chano Devi who was a Natti, to do the painting. And hence originated the Godna style of paintings.It is mostly done in black and white with lot of details, and is done by the lower caste women of the society. The third group of artists from Ganga Devi’s family belonged  to the Kayastha community in Rasheedpur, further down from Jitwarpur. This style of Madhubani is full of lines and the stories depict scenes from Ramayan and Mahabharat and the everyday life scenes from the village. I later visited Ganga Devi’s place as well which was another great experience 🙂

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An interpretation of Goddess Kali inside Mithilesh Ji’s house

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Ganga Devi making a painting

It was such an enchanting story of art, I wonder how much of it is actually true, but it is this personal interpretation of history of art is all that makes it special. I have earlier read so much about Madhubani but nothing has stayed so clear in my mind like this one. I was so influenced by his narration; I almost fell in love with the art all over again!

I wish to achieve the same impression of the Self in whatever products we make at Moya and let people add a bit of themselves in what they buy 🙂

See you soon with some more from my heart….

Madhubani trails

Am back…after a long time and am literally full of thoughts and experiences to share 🙂

This time when I packed my bags for my Moya journey to Madhubani, a small village in Bihar,there was a lot of inhibition and fear of the journey that was awaited ahead, reason being I had never travelled alone in this side of the country, infamous for all the wrong reasons. But to get out of my comfort zone and take risks for what your heart and mind together lead to, is a different pleasure. And indeed, it was a blissful experience professionally and personally sans the heat!! It was truly an enriching experience working with all the artists and women from the village, and the hospitality with which I was welcomed, was so touching and overwhelming!

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The oh so yummy meals served at their home :)All the desi taste served is still fresh!

I have been travelling to a lot of villages in the South too but every time I travel to Bihar which is my homeland, I am flushed with memories of childhood, and every time I thank my stars and my parents that I could reach where I am today. Life here for women is still miserable but they have no complains to make because they don’t know the other side of life. Being married off at an age of 15, raising 2 kids at 20, when we are thinking of what careers to choose they are already raising a family!! As kids I have spent all my summer and winter holidays in villages like Madhubani at my grandparents’, running around in the fields, plucking mangoes from the trees in summers, and having fresh sugarcane juice and hot jiggery in winters…and the memories are still so fresh that I can taste the flavors as I write! But with time the perspectives have changed, I remember my mom and other bahus of the house never coming out in the verandah, or if at all they would, it would be with a veil. Years have passed, we have moved ahead as a nation, as individuals but the core of things is still the same. Women are still deprived of their right to their lives in the name of culture and tradition.

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The bahu of the family cutting onions with the veil on as the elder men are around. They do most of their chores like this.

With Moya, my purpose to visit Madhubani  was very clear, I wanted to find, train and work with the women artists and help them achieve as much as they can in their environment. And it feels great to be able to connect to them and to the other side of the world equally.

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The family that gave me all that I needed in Madhubani and the yummiest food!!

More of Madhubani trails coming up soon…stay connected 🙂

India’s Daughter – BBC Documentary – My thoughts…

So agree with the whole math of it..Ultimately I feel we as a country serve them with subjects to make films n documentaries and get awards and our own media hardly thinks beyond TRPs!!

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B-Indias daughterThe issue has now been rekindled. After the protests and subsequent outrage in the aftermath of December 16th, 2012, things had quietened down. The accused had been sentenced, the outrage mostly forgotten. Until the word spread that a documentary on this incident, made by a British filmmaker, would be shown on India’s premier news channel- NDTV. All of a sudden, the story re-emerged, with rival news channels expressing disgust at the thought of airing a rapist/killer’s misogynistic viewpoints, politicians rushing to ban it, and liberals crying foul.   The documentary is now up on You Tube, almost immediately after it was banned by the Indian Government. And I just saw it.

My views on the incident itself are quite rational. Yes, the crime was terrible and the perpetrators deserve the strictest punishment. Would that be death? Or life imprisonment? Or, as so many raging on TV shows wanted- castration? Some suggested cutting off their limbs…

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On Women and Womens Day :)

So while the world celebrates Womens Day, I thought of having a closer look at women around me… I see a woman that comes every morning to help me cook  and clean, (without whom not ringing the bell, I might not wake up!!) I see a bunch of women, in the care of whom I leave my son for the day at school, I see so many women in the streets walking down, carrying a story of their own on their faces… a woman waiting at the bus stand thinking seriously if she put everything in place before leaving home, somebody walking and smiling to some thought that crossed her mind… there I saw a bunch of women sitting in the park talking through their lives and I wondering where is the time!?!  I see women rushing to work, honking, irritated with the traffic or their lives, who knows!! I see all those women with eyes looking past me wondering what they could have done IF ONLY…..this and a lot more….I see all of them so very extraordinary as people, who can be everything, give everything and still ask for nothing!! In this whole juggle buggle of our lives we forget to celebrate the women in our lives, I mean a WOMAN TO A WOMAN… How many of us do that!?! As women we forget to appreciate each other, we don’t really need to be a celebrity to be celebrated as who we are… I guess being a woman itself is a celebration, because I know no other species who can do so much with such dexterity! And there can’t be just a day to celebrate that but nevertheless here is a toast to the bitchy, naughty, simple sweet, passionate and the drama queens in my life…women I admire and look upto….Happy Womens Day!!  Be Yourself, Celebrate yourself!!

All about Me :)

Hi People,

So finally I am here…My new year resolution no 1 achieved!! Created this blog to share, the boils of my mind, which could be about anything…the work I do, the people I interact with, the society we live in or The Union Budget!! All I can promise you is that I might give you some interesting stories to read on, or maybe something that could charge you up enough to get up and get going at times!!

A lil’ bit bout Me…

A PG in Design from NID, Ahmedabad, have been working in the industry in multiple streams for 8 years with popular Fashion brands and independently, presently working for my passion which I have named Moya 🙂

Will keep catching up with my thoughts and stories… see you soon.

Find more about Moya here:

https://www.facebook.com/moyadesignworks

Cheers,

Rashmi