Weeks before our scheduled trip to Kutch, travel books were devoured, online friends contacted, gave Tripadvisor.com maximum number of daily hits, spoke on the phone for hours.....
....and then suddenly we stopped.
People travel for different reasons, different interests, different purposes.
What was our purpose?
We wanted to experience the land; the dry, harsh, unyielding land of Kutch.
The people; the strong people who looked at natural disasters in the eye, who boldly faced the fury of nature and yet remain warm; hospitable.
The craftsmanship; the needle & thread combination creating magic along with twinkling mirrors.
The history; the past.
So we re-drew our plan. Re-plotted the destinations on the map.
Last week of December, 2011:
Fueling ourselves with hi-octane enthusiasm, a heavy Lowepro bag and a tube of sunscreen we set out with Akil our driver from Bhuj into the villages.
The Mutwas, a Muslim Community who hail from Sindh in Pakistan, inhabit the Banni area in Kutch. They are known for their extremely intricate embroidery using tiny mirrors. We decided to visit one such community in Dhordo village.
We reached the doorsteps of the very hospitable Miyabhai Hussein Mutwa. The Mutwa embroidery is done by the women of the community and according to their customs outside men aren't allowed inside.
So while Mr. Husband spoke to the men in the outer room, I & the daughter were led into a open courtyard of a traditional Bhunga complex.
Within a matter of few minutes I had shook hands with a dozen smiling women and children, made to sit on a soft quilt covered charpouy and examined by twelve pairs of inquisitive eyes.
They asked me about my life in the city. I inquired about their work, their life there in the village.
Suddenly Shabnam, one of the Mutwa women came to me with her needle & thread, pulled the edge of my mirrorwork shawl and started working on it. Within a minute she had made an intricate eyelet around one of the mirrors.
I didn't need to see any of their work after that.
Before she weaved the magic around the mirror...
After the magic...
A priceless souvenir that will remind me of the Mutwa craftsmanship and hospitality....and of Shabnam.
Will share photographs of Mutwa embroidery work in my next post:-)