The warm rug

I was sitting there feeling the warmth of the wollen rug beneath me, and the lukewarm terracota tumbler with milk in my hand.
“Bhai, ye chatai kis cheez ki bani hai?”, I asked Jatan Bhai.

“kaun sa ye..? ye jungli gyag ke baal ka bana hai. meri miseej ne banaya hai.”, he said, smiling proudly.

“Gyag?..ye kaun sa janwar hai.”

“arey vo hota hai na gaay jaisa, bade sije vala. jiske lambe lambe baal hota hai”

“Yak..?”, I asked

“haan haan vahi. paltoo yak ke bhi baal milta hai. par ye jungli gyag ka hai.”

I was amazed. How did they find wool from a wild yak. I asked him.

“ye toh secret hai :D…”

“pleeeze bataiye na bhaaai….mein kisi ko nahi bataaunga.” puppy eyes and all ..

“Achha suno. Faalgun ke maheene mein hi hota hai. Us maheene mein hi ye gyag kafi thande hote hain. Inka saal ka poora chakkar chalta hai na. Ashwin ke maheene mein ye garm hote hain. Pichli baar toh mera ek dost hai Dhhuni. Uske shareer pe bahut baak hain. Ek baar davaai lene hum log oopar gaye they..toh ek gyag kahin se aake Dhhuni pe savaar ho gaya. HAA hAA hAa hAa.
aur fir 6 maheene baad phalgun mein bahut hi shant. Mein jab bacha thha tab toh jaake gyagni ke dood bhi pee leta thha.”

“Ye gyagni ka doodh hai?” I asked wondering at the sweet milk I was having.

“arey na na…ye toh vo sardaar apne bhains lekar aaye hain ludhiana se. Yahin milti hai na hari ghaans garmi mein.”

“Achha. haan toh vo phalgun mein…..?”

“Haan. Pehle toh hum log aisa gyag dhoondte hain jiska baal humey chahiye. Ye alag alag rang ke hote hain . kale , bhoore , laal, safed. Uske baad humse se jiska bhi gala sabse achha rehta hai..vo ye gana gate hain. aap ye youtube pe dekh sakte hain.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq-l1tuGwAE

“koi aisee sundar bandee nahi rehti vahan. bus hum teen char dost aur vo gyag.”

“aapke gane se kya hota hai? ” I asked wondering.

“Arey ye gana shayad gyag ko lori jaisa lagta hai. Humare purkon ne pata nahi ye kaise khoja. Kai peedhiyon se hum log yahi gana gate hain, gyag ko sulane ke liye.”

“Toh gyag so jaati hai?”

“Haan so jaati hai. khurrate maark ke. aur bus hum chakoo se uske baal kaat lete hain. Har 2 baal lene pe hum ke baal chhod dete hain. Usey nanga karna bhi sharafat nahi na.”

Jatan bhai is planning to soon start selling a couple of these rugs every year. Please keep an eye out for link to that rug selling on a superfurnish.com site, that I might soon share.

Nobody Knows

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any living or dead people is entirely coincidental.

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I had arrived a day before, but felt like a veteran, riding the official ride of aurovillians, the TVS moped. It wouldn’t go any faster, and I was dangerously close to missing my lunch. My guest house served all three meals, strictly at 7 am, 1 pm and 7pm. Avoiding the potholes and swerving to avoid the goats, I saw her waving, apparently at me. The wave changed into a thumb pointing to the direction I was going. She was dressed in loose cottons and manali pants, and you could mistake her for a spanish tourist. A pretty spanish girl who looks indian. I braked my moped to a halt and then noticed a baby near her, playing on the ground. He was covered all over his body in blue stripes.

“Ink?”, I asked her pointing towards the boy.

“Yeah must be..he was playing with another kid, and I had taken my eyes off them just for a minute….and when I noticed, both of them were covered like this.”

“Let me take my bag in front”, said I, letting them onto my moped.

“Are you living in the village?”, she asked.

“Village? I don’t know, I am staying at the Cheruze guest house. You know near the Mother’s market.”

“How much do they charge?”

“750 per day, but they include three meals and a wifi connection.”

“ohh..that is too expensive for me. I won’t be able to afford that.”

“Where are you put up now?”, I asked.

“I am looking for a cheap place, you know I don’t have much money.”

“Are you sharing it with someone?”, she asked.

“No, staying alone. It is expensive for me as well. I have booked only for 10 days. Will search for some other place, meanwhile.”

“Do you have any friends there?”

“Not yet, I know a few people, but not friends yet. I came only yesterday, you know”, I said.

“Oh”, she said, the tone of which I took as ‘oh you don’t know how to go about living in this place. Staying alone! Imagine!!’

I sensed that she wanted me to ask her if she wants to share a room with me. And suddenly I started imagining things, dirty nappies, standing in line for vaccine shots, waiting for the baby to sleep in the small single room I had, every night, and on and on. She wasn’t asking me to marry her, fuck she hadn’t even asked aloud if I wanted to share a room. Couldn’t she get a job, with her fluent english and sauve ways, if she needed money.

“What do you do in Auroville?”, I finally asked.

“I am a teacher. I was working as a teacher with the Tamil Nadu government. And then he got born, and I lost my job.”

“Oh wow..same pinch, I haven’t earned anything in the last few years. Living on my savings”, said I, hoping to establish that I was no rich corporate honcho, the modern landlord’s son.

Meanwhile the boy got excited and started jumping between us.

“He seems to be having fun”, I said.

“Yeah he does this everytime we are on a bike. He is calm in a car, but on a two wheeler, he feels like he is the one riding it. Soon he will go to prep school, or kg school or no school, since I have no money.”

Meanwhile my guest house neared. And it was with a mix of guilt and shame that I stopped my moped at the turn which takes me to my guest house. I felt the hot summer sun pouring down on us, mainly on them. What made it even worse was something she had said when she sensed that I was about to stop and say ‘bye bye’.

“I don’t know where we are headed”, she muttered anxiously.

“Does anybody”, I thought, as I raced my moped, without looking back.

Leather Chappal

Tried my hands at sewing a chappal with my hands. The leather was again from a scrap leather dealer in Ghee Kanta,  Ahmedabad. The sole is reclaimed tyre rubber. The best thing about custom made footwear is that it fits like a glove :D.

IMG_8774_small1

The cheap awl I was using had a plastic handle which came off very soon. Used MSeal  for making the awl handle. Embedded it with seed from the manjadi, the bead tree, and some other baubles I had lying around. This also gives it added grip.

Dastangoi – Kabirnama

One of my friends, watsapped me. A friend of hers was doing a recitation of Kabir in Mumbai. I was headed towards Mumbai from Ahmedabad, after completing a 10 day workshop in mud house building. That post is still waiting to be written and posted. I am twisting my arms right now, just for delaying that. But this post should not wait.

From SMSing how to get into the concert, and asking my friend whether “I was ankit ka dost evam do saathi”, or “Hum ankit ke dost hain”, would work at the gate. We were slightly late. The show had started. And there sitting on the stage was Beerbal telling a story about two girls named Satya and Kahani. For a moment I felt like King Akbar collectively with the rest of the audience, listening to Beerbal solve a cause. So fine a salesmanship it was, that it was very easy to forget, that you were being sold. Sold the philosophy of prem. But how would you sell ‘prem’ without seduction. And it was an act of seduction. The audience moaned collectively with vaah vaah. The symmetry between the philosophy of kabir, with the bhava on his face, was yang and yin.

Picture courtesy Ankit

I had read Kabeer earlier, here and there…once or thrice. I found them profoundly common sensical learnings. I was seeing him today in a new light. One of softly yellow lightings, and smartly dressed, tasteful crowd. There was no hint of NCPA snobbery at the Yashwant Chawan Auditorium.  The stewards were old, gentle, government employees, who pulled open doors and showed you the way.

Unfortunately couldn’t meet Ankit because his was phone was on silent. Will keep an eye out for him.

Hukus Bukus

I had goose bumps From this youtube description, the lines means this:
Tse Kus Be Kus Teli Wan su Kus
Who are you and who am I then tell us who is he the creator that permeates through both you and I

Moh Batuk Logum Deg
Each day I feed my senses/body with the food of worldly attachment and material love (Moh = attachment)

Shwas Khich Khich Wang-mayam
For when the breath that I take in reaches the point of complete purification (Shwas = Breath)

Bhruman daras Poyun chokum
It feels like my mind is bathing in the water of divine love (Bhruman = nerve center in the human brain, poyun = water)

Tekis Takya bane Tyuk
Then I know I am like that sandal wood which is pasted for divine fragrance symbolic of universal divinity. I realize that I am, indeed, divine (Tyuk = Tika applied on the forehead)