Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sona Behn - Her Embroidery, Silver and all Her Colors

i have always been fond of silver even when i was a kid. Any metal that looks white so when i first entered that room for the purpose of actually buying some hand embroidered stuff i got cured of my shopping fever. She took over. Sona Behn that's what she told me her name was. Now apparently my husband is smiling about his moolah savings while i am going bonkers trying to find out from people where i can find real silver tribal jewellery. Poor hubby darling unawares in his glee that his smile may not last long.
Perfunctory at first as she looks up to see me as just another customer who might not buy anything what to talk of much. 
It was only when i complimented her and showed keen interest on that thick piece of silver round her neck that she smiled for me.
That started it all. The breaking of ice and Sona Behn was more than willing to show it all. Requesting her male partner to take care of the customers she stood up and actually posed for me without me even asking her to do that.
And since she was so kind i moved a little backwards to take a full shot. Pretending to be a great shooter turning my body this way and that trying to fix my gadget in all kinds of photographic angles. Only i know that more than pretense it was me trying to get acquainted with that fantastic gadget on me. Alas! poor me this is the best i could do.
Then that final show stopper. She proudly presented to me what she announced was additional 2 kilos on her.
One kilo each on both her feet. So in total from what she was wearing each day and everyday could be a little more than 4 kilos. Can't ignore the one around her neck and that big nose stud which i happily forgot to shoot. Adding a few grams more for her arm bangles and her dress which looked heavy with all that mirror work kutch embroidery, plus the bead jewellery, she was with great ease in her frail body carrying something approximating 5 kilos. Each day and everyday.

She explained that she did not find it uncomfortable but was rather used to it. It is customary for her kind to wear all that. Dispelling the wrong notion that i had of her belonging to the Rabari tribe she educated me on bits of her own tribe called the Harijan. What was very impressive was the fact that all females in her tribe young or old, married or unmarried only wear what they have hand embroidered for themselves. Feeling a bit shy and explaining why her own dress looked faded but smiling nevertheless she told me about her ever so busy time making things, not for herself but for selling. For few years now that she is into this occupation of setting up her own bazaar and selling all that she makes she hardly gets any time to make a new one for herself.  Her own which she was wearing was something like ten years old and had lost all it's original sheen and colors. i peered in to figure out the fading colors then but all i could see was the brilliant embroidery all intact and not a thread unraveling from anywhere.

My husband started sending me irritating signals to make a move as we were being waited upon by fellow tourists and before i could ask her more about her family and rest i had to hastily wrap up my conversation with her. And since i barely had time to pick and choose i sought help from her to pick a few pieces from her embroidery galore. How could i leave without not having something of Sona Behn's Kutch embroidery. i was obliged suitably of course as one can see.

The irritating my skin colors that were lovingly painted on me this morning brings me here. Next to the so pleasing and non-irritating company of Sona Behn.

Tomorrow is Holi and it not surprising that while my mind is figuring out where to go to buy some safe non-carcinogenic herbal colors that i land up indulging in the brief but colorful memory of Sona Behn. Her brilliant heavy white metal, and all that she stands for...



  1. I feel a pride in having 'discovered' your blog. The images and words in this post really tell a great story about Sona Behn.
    I think the hallmark of a great story teller is to keep the narration simple. It's a difficult thing to do. You are a great story teller.

  2. @ Raja...such kind words thank you so much.:)