Monday, September 13, 2010

Thank You Sister Bhojeya

Before i begin yapping about my latest that kept me obsessed and just so busy all these days i must mention that i get inspiration from the most unusual places.Or maybe it's my wandering eyes which silently watches and captures what fancies the hungry heart the most.Whatever...

 While travelling in the train last time i got inspired to do something just by watching the lady who was occupying the opposite berth. A lady who i thought was an epitome of sophistication as i watched her silently. Right from her luggage to her shoes to the deodorant/perfume she was wearing.She even talked very less like most sophisticated ladies do... who nod and listen more and when they utter something in their best eloquent self you wished they could be more talkative.Only thing that a little bit of that sophistication trickled down on me and i thought it best not to disturb her with my inquisitive questions about her as she immersed herself in Gabriel Garcia Marquez and just watched carefully so as not to appear to be a rude staring rustic.i watched her neat movements when she got to eat and when she needed to freshen up.When she took out her kit that contained her organised belongings to freshen up i was awed at all that style.What most caught my attention apart from the kit which was beautifully embroidered from the outside were her towels.She had a compact custom made kit which also contained 2 custom made towels of two different sizes.The towels and the kit bag was a synchronised object d' art i should say. Judging from their sizes and how she used them i ascertained their functions to be different.The larger of the two towels was used to wipe the moisture off her face when she washed them and the delicately embroidered and French- laced spotless white beauty was her hand towel.
i would never even dream of soiling such a pristine beauty but then where is the question of any speck even to appear on it when you are just dabbing a little moisture off your hands or at the corner of your lips.
i looked at my own disposable tissues in shame and thought about the trees/bamboo that have to be felled for making these tissues.But my sense of shame was soon replaced by inspiration.

So i got inspired by those towels towards my next big project.Which was to start making many number of pristine white hand towels with my own signature embroidery...for which i am so lovingly admired by my friends. Of course these would be for my friends who would be saying their goodbyes to me as i leave my favourite city after 21 years.

Once again in my heart i thanked Sister Bhojeya for teaching us all those delicate stitches in convent during the needle work period.Of course then we would giggle behind her back when she loudly said in a not so feminine voice which sounded more some international language maybe German than English,"Girls putt de wurk on de beigg taibel I hav leette wurk to doo."(Girls put the work on the big table I have little work to do).This when we approached her with all our homework to get graded of course at the start of each class.

Pity they have no needle work for girls in school anymore.We had fun in these classes.For one thing we were off boring subjects at least for one whole period where we would be easy and could talk to each other instead of the so painful PIN DROP SILENCE which was an essential pre-requisite for the other classes.

But this post is actually not about what inspires me rather what intrigues me.i was brought up thinking that everyone should use their own towels but having different towels for different functions i get to see only in movies, mostly Hollywood or else the glossy interior exterior magazines which has breathtaking transparencies of bathrooms where all different sizes of towels are stacked neatly. i have often wondered about these towels.
Different sizes hung on the same rod next to the wash basin.i am yet to know their specific functions because all i could see  in 'Sleeping With The Enemy' was a symbolic perfect arrangement in which they were to be hung.
In the kitchen i understand having different towels but in the bathroom having different sizes next to the wash basin is over me.i always thought one fresh towel is enough.
Maybe sophistication is a lot more than having specific towels for specific purpose and to me it sounds onerous and just too tiresome.Imagine the number of towels multiplied by the number of members in the family...nothing but an added addition to the laundry.

Of course it is being sophisticated to have your whites spotless and it is a hard task like i have already said but if you want to gift a memory of yours to be treasured forever i think it is worth it's while to gift them in white.
Chances are that these would be treasured and handled with care.Maybe that's mean on my part but for a change i would love to see my friends travel with some sophistication AND with a wee bit of warm memory of me.

The items displayed in this blog of mine are definitely not my creations but were handmade by poor women of the Christian Missions Charitable Trust, Chennai, South India.


  1. I loved this post. First you start off with a train journey and then move on to embroidered handkerchiefs. Finally you end on a very nice note on memories. As you started narrating about the lady, I got so involved that when you stopped, I was like: 'What happened to the lady?' It is just so easy to get lost in a narrative. When I read the title, I was expecting something else but you surprised me. This post was an assortment of so many incidents, memories and longings.

    Wonderful write, Shivani.

    Joy always,

  2. @Susan Thank you for appreciating my hotch potch and for finding time to stop by.The lady disembarked at Chennai Central after wishing me a polite goodbye and i hope i will see her again some day.Don't know anything about her but have guessed her to be some executive judging from the chauffeur who had come neatly dressed to receive her.She had that air around her that indicated her status to be thus and not just a rich man's wife.
    Yeah the day to day happenings just takes you back in time...somebody said just the other day that in so many ways past, present and future are all having some link some connection.
    have a nice day,
    will have joy more now with all that you had to say.

  3. As always, superb narration, especially the initial part of the post.
    Embroidered handkerchiefs, scarves, pillow covers etc are once again in vogue and your parting gift would definitely be treasured by your friends. For your info, my mother in law is an expert in embroidery and frankly speaking have not seen anyone as versatile, perfect in her designs, as well as the patterns she evolves at one sitting. She too has a blog, but due to a very bad fall recently she has been unable to post anything for quite awhile. Do have a look...
    Good post Shivani, keep them coming.

  4. @Tandarin thank you so good to get to hear from you.
    Surely will visit the blog and right now i wish i was near her...maybe she could help me out with the stitches that i have forgotten...i am trying to learn through net and books but someone like Sister Bhojeya... i want back in my life.

  5. Nice post Shivani, enjoyed reading it as always. Got me intrigued about the sophisticated lady, I would have asked her a few questions. :)

  6. @Preeti thank you deary for encouraging me as always.Maybe you would've asked...i couldn't because she did not seem to be very forthcoming.But i'm sure if our paths cross again i will be good and will try to know more about her.:)

  7. this post was so real that i almost became yr travelling companion.i admire yr observation.u vr my saviour as far as my nw was concerned.remember maria goretti she threw my very narrow matte cloth bed cover out of the window. it was untidy.then u came to my rescue.

  8. @Gauri thank you sweetie and Maria Goretti was a typical nun...i felt bad for u then when u told me about her cruelty.It seemed cruel then but come to think of it how our sisters insisted on quality...right side or wrong side no knots to be seen.And it was like a crime if ur work was untidy.
    Today all those memories make me smile and i will say today...Thank you sister for teaching us what we would have never known.:)

  9. Wow.. Excellent embriodery.. Specially that BIRD wala. I m sure this parting gift will b like treasure for your frnds :):)...Jayshree

  10. God! trust u to spot that one.Well my favourite one was the one with lavender flower border.
    Hope my frnds do find it worth treasuring.
    But on second thoughts...things really don't matter.Maybe we do it but memories are our or no gifts...what say u?
    Thanks for reading the long post.:)