• Akanksha Damini Joshi

The Weaver's Knot & the Goddess

#ContemporaryIndia


There is a weaver. He lives in a small village in Tamil Nadu. Because the village is small he sent his son away. The son, his wife, their children. All live in the city now. Some moons ago, they came home. To the village, small.



The weaver is sitting with his loom. The gentle melody of the weave surrounds the space. His little petti, grand daughter, is standing at the door. Watching. Listening. Sensing. The movements. Like huge waves. Dancing. Leaping. The colours. Soaking in the darkness of the room. The music making ample room for silence.


And then. The yarn, snaps. A silence, anxious. Happens.

But Grandpa? He just rolls his fingers around the broken yarn.

In a flash, creating that special weaver’s knot. Mending the break.

And again. Music, begins. Colours, dance.


Petti’s little eyes are wonder-filled. She slowly walks closer to grandpa. And asks him how he does what he does with the … with the … with the … with the … aaaaaahhh …heelllppp …. she does not know what to call the yarn!!!


Grandpa, a proud weaver, is shocked. His own child, a weaver’s child does not know ‘POGU’ ? ! ? !


My friend, telling me this story, smiles. When grandpa made the choice of sending his kids to the city. Somehow he believed, that the language, the tradition, the culture would also stay. How could that go? Its been passed on from generation to generation, no? It is so much in his blood that … it seemed eternal.


Smiling, she continued. Recalling another time, when she was small.


The girls, young women, older women. All. Would keep the #VaralaxmiVratam. To cajole, to please Goddess Laxmi. So she would fulfil your wishes. Of the earth, wealth, fame, peace, health, wisdom.

The girls of the family, they would each make their own goddess. A pot would be used as a base. On top of it a coconut would be placed. With mango leaves. Then on the coconut big eyes would be made. A big tilak put. My friend, she delighted in getting the fattest coconut. The roundest pot. Her goddess had to have the biggest body! Bigger the body, bigger the wish, no?!


The base of the pot covered with a red dress, gold jewellery. On top of it, the coconut face of the goddess. All this would be placed on rice and … lo! There you were. Your own, handmade, custom designed, The Great Goddess. Ready To Pray!


Now, some families had a custom of making a big nose made of turmeric for the goddess. This was a toughie. They said, the goddess will make your child a nose exactly like you make her. She is very ‘tit-for-tat-types’ when it concerns her nose, mmm? So better make her a beautiful nose, and give her a pretty nose ring.


My friend, she’d spend hours. Her tiny fingers, shaping the nose of the goddess delicately. There were some moments. Deep. She’d swear she could see the goddess smile back at her.

The pooja was special. For there were just women around. The whole atmosphere charged with the feminine gathering, relating, bonding. Getting up in the wee hours of the morning. The rush for bathing. The sounds of the kitchen utensils. Singing, cooking, clapping, decorating, praying. Ah! The softness of that joy!


She was too busy enjoying to notice, but slowly she learnt. This vratam was meant to celebrate the men in the family — brothers, father, uncles, grand fathers, the whole lot! And then. Somehow. She …mm… Grew. She and some of her friends left the goddess making tradition. Felt no need for the goddess, the prayers, the celebrations.


Time passed. Many moons came, went.


One day she looked around. And saw. It wasn’t just them. But really, no body was making the goddess anymore. The food, the songs, the gathering had all vanished. But… the goddess? With time, she made a come back. In a full filmy avatar. The feminine gathering to celebrate the masculine, disappeared. It was now limited, confined. To just one dimension of the many possibilities of a man-woman relation. That of a wife praying for her husband.


My friend, telling me this story, continues smiling. She too — like the weaver — had believed. That the language, the tradition, the culture would stay. How could that go? Its been passed on from generation to generation, no? It is so much in the blood that… it seemed eternal.


But life. Is a choice. Nothing comes without T&C.


Sure, there is no right, no wrong.

But there is a Choice.

Each moment. Each one. Decides.

Some, with awareness. Most, in drifting.

To keep the language, or to let it go.

Or lets say, to knot the pogu or not.

To create the Goddess, or not.



#TwoStories #ManyWeaves #TanaBanaOfLife

#AkankshaDaminiJoshi #DaminiJosh