My last diary entry got me thinking about my DNA and I haven’t stopped thinking since then. As I thought about the DNA of each saree in the world I am starting to realise that the identity of a saree is actually what the weavers create. Pieces of plants (flax, cotton, etc) or silk are first crafted into threads and then woven as sarees. It is almost magical and it is no wonder that weavers are treated with god-like respect.
However, in the case of us Khesh sarees, we do get to carry on the DNA of our ancestors in a small way because of the way we are made. Let me tell you the full process. The entire process of creating a Khesh saree starts from first collecting discarded or unsold sarees. These sarees go on to become a part of us and create magical combinations. For this, the sarees are first torn length-wise. The tearing is a laborious manual process but the creative artisans have come up with ways to simplify the process. One of the common ways of tearing the sarees is to first tear the saree into length-wise sections of broad width. Then, each section is taken and small cuts are made with small intervals. Following this, alternate sections are held in different hands and pulled in the opposite direction. This results in thin lengthy strips of existing sarees. These strips are placed on the warp of the handloom and the designers ideate how to combine this with fresh threads on the weft. The end result is pure beauty.
I’m sure that even for the weavers, it is a joy to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns that turn out to be astounding. Even when a specific design is fixed, the final outcome of a Khesh saree always has unpredictability at its core. The fact that a Khesh saree’s design is unpredictable until its final outcome must bring together suspense, excitement, anxiety as well as a feeling of empowerment. I love this fact and I do quite enjoy the feeling of delight that I see on the faces of weavers as well as the person who buys us. In fact, the look on the weaver’s face is the first sight in my memory and it keeps me going through tough days. In fact, when some mean sarees ragged me in the beginning days of my wardrobe life about a part of me being an ‘oldie’, I remembered how special I am only by thinking about that first memory of mine.
The unpredictability in design is not just with respect to colours and patterns; it is also with respect to the fabric texture. I am a mul Khesh and I am a combination of mul threads and recycled threads. Similarly, different threads of different materials can be combined along with the material of the existing sarees. I feel that this gives a sense of power to weavers to create various new textures and carry out experiments on the handloom!
On the whole, I must say that being a mul Khesh makes me feel unique as well as part of a legacy at the same time. And, when I see sarees of my own kind I am delighted as I know that the world must have gotten better at least by a tiny bit thanks to us Khesh folk!