Weaving Yarn … A Way of Life

This picture was taken in the community centre of Kumaon Regiment where wives of martyrs and battle casualties weave yarn and make clothes for sale. It doubles as a haberdashery for both men and women. The stuff prepared here is absolutely authentic and the women who work here are the men of their houses. Having given their husbands to this country, these women are anything but weak and destitute … With dreams in their eyes and strength in their arms they weave for almost 8-10 hours a day and then walk back home … They all stay 4-5 kms away from the community centre which in the hills means an hour’s walk. They cant afford domestic help on their paltry take homes and usually have a large families to support … Kids, old parents and younger siblings, if any, of the deceased husband …

Apart from weaving yarn and manufacturing apparel, they usually run small businesses from their homes in which they are assisted by their family members … Every household is a small bakery or a store from where you can buy homemade chips, pickles, sorbets, eggs, milk, hand-knitted sweaters & socks etc.

Earlier a church building, the place was redone into a weaving unit which employs war widows who make their living by making jackets, shawls, ponchos, veils, stoles, scarves drapes etc. Besides clothes they also sell homemade jams, chutneys, dips and sauces … The place smells of pine and purity … A gigantic lobby is divided into two parts … The front acts like a showcase where all the manufactured items are displayed and the rear acts as the manufacturing unit enveloped in a riot of colors … Pinks, greens, blues, yellows, scarlets, magentas, moss, oranges … The colors initially make you dizzy but after a couple of minutes you get spellbound by the sheer beauty of that place … the giggling and the non-stop chatter in Kumaoni … For me it was like an out of body experience … I felt this greed rising in me … I wanted that fragrance, that thread, those deft fingers which never ceased weaving even once … Concurrently I was experiencing a deep sense of gratitude … God has been kind to me!!

I chatted with them and after about spending an hour I felt small … While I cant function without domestic help and need my car to cover the shortest distance possible and need my vacations and time-outs, here is a bunch of women who work hard all their lives … Words like vacation do not feature in their dictionary .. For them toiling hard is a way of life …

Their husbands were real heroes of this country but these women arent any less heroic … Hats off!!

Heres wishing them all the strength and courage … Sugarsatchet!




  1. First off, I LOVE the word haberdashery. You know how I like to embroider and knit and sew… So this Old English word holds a very special meaning for me 😊😊😊 Secondly, I live this piece for how honestly it portrays the strength of these women. Thirdly, I love how you’ve described the place. ‘Smells of pine and purity… ‘ were enough to make me nostalgic (you know why)…. In short I Love this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

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