A towel as a ‘Declaration of Love’

Friends of Dhole’s Den,

Some 6 months or so earlier I was gifted a ‘Gamcha’ from Assam. That was as a symbol of respect from my staff and their affection towards me. Upon asking about the details I was told by Parag who started off as my driver but now has grown up to be my assistant and co-traveler on my work trips, that all the families in the area around Tinsukia had looms at home and the ‘Gamcha’ was made by his wife Nandita.

A little later our prime minister mentioned the athlete Hima Das in one of his talks and upon reading further I stumbled upon an interview of hers wherein she said:

“My gamcha stays with me. My mother gave it to me. It has each drop of my sweat.”

A Gamcha I have come now to realise is much more than a piece of fabric. It is for Hima Das a fabric given to her by her mother, possibly hand woven for her child to use. A fabric woven with love of a mother and emotions that might have paced every moment , she must have raced towards her goal. It is in a way the winning moment for her mother as the Gamcha stood with her child on the podium and she I imagine would have said: Oh, there is my Hima with her Gamcha, I made for her.

Craft is something that takes shape in daily routine of the craftsman. It is not something that always takes place in confined spaces like studios but as a friend put it once in between life, between cooking meals to attending to kids and between dreams and aspirations it is though small but truly an entrepreneurial venture to create something of use that can be purchased and sold and adds to the material well being of a family most of the times.

For me it’s the form of value addition and art bundled as one.  Thus I decided to order handwoven ‘Gamcha’ made by Nandita and her sister in law for Dhole’s Den.  We did this out of conviction and our concern for the environment.

When it comes to using towels in our day to day life, most of us are convenient with the most less eco-friendly option. But not many of us know that this results in an enormous wastage of water and use of chemicals to clean the turkey towels. Not to forget that they also need a lot of energy to be washed. While we still have a long way to make this environment sustainable, we can choose other alternatives that are less harmful to the environment. Imagine washing all ‘Gamchas’ with least possible amount of water in a washing machine and be able to dry them without a tumble dryer in the least amount of time.

At Dhole’s Den, we try and leave no stone unturned to reach this eco space, and this time it’s about hand-woven cotton towels.

And the fact that family members of our own staff have been able to weave it herself, add to the family finances and eventually take that small leap to ameliorate our planet, is a matter of pride to us.

I can imagine my colleague Parag’s wife Nandita happy and proud about the fact that the ‘Gamchas’ get used by people whom she doesn’t even know. The romantic in me wishes to imagine that she sent one as her declaration of love for her husband who is in distant Karnataka.

And you can also make a ’Declaration of Love’ towards Mother Earth by deciding to choose the Gamcha that is placed in your room or ask us how you can order these for your home.

We loved sharing the above story with you and leave you with images of Parag Nandita and he Gamchas that she and her family make for you to use. We hope to come with new designs…

In the meantime I request you to order the ones shown here and support Nandita in her efforts.

You orders for the ‘Gamchas’ may be sent to my assistant Ms. Natarajan under roshni@dholesden.com and if you wish to use them before you buy… Stay with us. Call 9445662210 for a booking! You will get a special code for taking time to read this story.

Wild Regards

Karthik Davey