Silk

 

Leaving the market square behind, we drove on through the small town, past stalls selling all kinds of colourful wares.

 

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I can imagine the scent from this one being particularly fragrant – possibly as well, since right next to it, someone was in marginally less fragrant surroundings.

 

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However beautiful the sights, the “real” India is never far away.

 

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As the old women pick their way through the detritus of life, people are riding bikes and mopeds whilst talking on the cellphones. 

 

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We soon find ourselves heartily welcomed at the Silk Weaving Centre and having been ushered in via the cowsheds and the lavatories, we go upstairs to find work being done.

 

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I think these chaps are here for the show really, but for a demonstration, it’s pretty good and the work they are doing is beautiful.

 

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The Jacquard looms are hand powered and the designs are traditional.

 

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But no-one lingers up here, because of course, downstairs is the shop!

 

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I’m not a fan of European women wearing sarees and wouldn’t consider the style for myself, but that doesn’t stop me being completely enchanted by the colour, the pattern, the texture.

 

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For sure, there are ready made garments here too, but these are cut for the slight, Asian build and those who try on are disappointed in the fit.

 

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Silk is pulled from these luscious piles of loveliness, thrown out by the assistants to show us the beauty

 

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there’s gold and embroidery galore, elaborate patterns and fine weaving.

 

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and sooner or later, there’s one with my name on it.  You’d have guessed that one spoke to me, wouldn’t you?

 

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Until I saw the price – 9720 rupees….that’s over £130 and a little more than I wanted to pay, however beautiful the silk.

 

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By the time we’d finished, the shop was looking like a plague of locusts had passed through.  I imagine that some considerable folding practice was done to return the displays to normal, but business had been brisk and there were plenty of smiles.

 

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We stepped outside, narrowly avoiding the fuel supply, drying in the sun and were offered a snack to keep us going till lunchtime, which wouldn’t be till 3pm or thereabouts.

 

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We were each given a packet of biscuits (rather like Ritz crackers) and a can of Fanta, having been advised that even the bottled water doesn’t meet safety standards here.

Finally, I imagine you’d like to see what I brought out in that shopping bag?

 

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It’s a saree, similar to the one I rejected on price grounds – this one was less than a quarter of the price, isn’t quite the same quality as the previous saree but the colours are softer and I rather preferred it.  When I get home, I’ll decide what I’m going to do with it!

Mahabalipuram

Kanchipuram