Hearts in Handlooms!

Posted by DIvya Sista on

We have been thinking (and that thinking postponed invariably, and indefinitely always) of a blog for The Maggam Collective for quite sometime now.
My sister who always supported and urged me to write pointed out how I was writing bits and pieces for family, and friends here and there, but not for something so dear and close to heart.
In my defense I thought no one was even reading blogs these days (do they?)
But then, it suddenly dawned upon me, that I had to write for Maggam, not for people reading it!  And now with the lockdown, it just seemed like the universe conspired to make this happen. 
The Maggam Collective, our mother's favourite baby (jealous!) was born out of her patient interest that she developed and nurtured, much akin to a favourite plant, over 40 years. As our Father travelled for conferences, lectures and workshops all over India, she'd pick up handlooms here and there. She always had a great eye for spotting good things, and my sister and I still get to pick the best sarees of the lot (just one of the many perks of having a mom who owns a handloom store)
I noticed how much this journey changed her - where she used to haggle for one piece or two (if it was for both of us), she now includes the weavers' or the cooperative society or the single mother who stitches the fall-pico (she insists we travel 5 km away and give customers' saris only to her for fall-pico) or the tailor couple (who stitch blouses and dresses) as  partners in her profits.
Though we began The Maggam Collective out of passion and as a way to stay occupied, it has been profitbale in more ways than we can imagine! When people inquire how my mother 'passes her time's or if she gets lonely, now that both her daughters are married and stay away, I smile at the train of thoughts that it ignites. Amma has been busier than ever, and she fondly calls this her second innings. As a teacher, her students can vouch for the fact that she was quite the disciplinarian (I can too!), which makes it quite contrasting and delightful at how gentle handling sarees, fabrics and accounts has made her.
It is as though we have discovered gratitude through Maggam - which is truly humbling. Not just the Weaver or his family, a lot has been said and written about the 'poor hungry weaver' (which trust me isn't always the case), but to everyone who is part of this online handloom ecosystem - the customer, the transporter, the one who packs, the farmer who grows cotton, the worker who prints, the lady who patiently spins the charkha, their families who are part of all this indirectly - in my first post for our baby which is now a sturdy little kindergartner (4 years old!), Thank You!