The APCO Pochampally mela for the benefit of the weavers being held at TTD Building, Liberty, is worth a look.
HOME DECOR: Bedspreads to liven up the bedroom.
THE TALE of the life of the Pochampally weaver fraught with difficulties, worries and tensions is well known. Their plight has been highlighted in the media and Shyam Benegal's Susman projected it on celluloid. Their exquisite ikkat weaves are much appreciated time and again by one and all. Unfortunately their conditions of livelihood are appalling - the recent spate of deaths being a prime indicator. In order to help the Pochampally weavers of Nalgonda, APCO has purchased stocks from different co-operative societies and is exhibiting them at an exclusive Pochampally mela at TTD Kalyana Mandapam at Liberty, Himayat Nagar, also offering a 30 per cent discount on saris, dress materials, dupattas and bedsheets.
The hall on the first floor is chock-a-block with women and girls checking out the stuff. With the incentive of 30 per cent, it is but natural to be attracted to the items. A glimpse around the hall will indicate that this mela certainly offers something different. New designs, new colours, new patterns characterise the stocks.
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In the sari sections, the silks are inviting on account of the new colour schemes and weaving patterns. Besides the traditional ikkat, there are new designs - there is bold use of geometric designs like checks (big and small) and box-like squares and rectangles which figure in the borders and pallus. In some, the checks are interspersed with a temple border (seen on Kanchipuram saris) or they figure as a self-design in some. Something akin to a gharchola sari of Gujarat is available too at perhaps one-tenth the cost. Indeed the price range is reasonable. After discount one can purchase silk saris for as low as Rs. 1200 and as high as Rs. 2500. The other new aspect is the colour - there are many new shades besides the usual mustards, reds, maroons and greens. The cotton saris are simple but ideal for the heat and cost Rs. 250.
Mercerised cotton bedsheets are another novelty. These white-based sheets are fine and soft and intricately patterned. They are priced at Rs. 365 (for single bedsheet) and Rs 728 (double with two pillow cases). The thicker variety of ikkat bedsheets too are available in plenty.
Some dress materials and dupattas can be mixed and matched for stitching a salwar/churidar suit. While the dress materials are priced at Rs 70-90 per metre, the dupattas cost about Rs. 225.
The unique feature of the mela is that APCO has picked up all the latest stocks for this exhibition. That is why one finds new designs. "These new designs were developed through various efforts - by the weavers themselves, suggestions by Gopika Nath from Delhi and the National Institute of Fashion Technology," says Samir Sharma, Commissioner for Handlooms, M.D. APCO. He adds, "the mela was a market intervention as there was a glut in stocks." This mela is already tempting people to buy and in about five days about Rs. 25 lakhs of stocks have been sold according to C. Brahmam of APCO. The variety and designs are being appreciated. Hopefully this gesture of APCO will certainly improve the conditions of weavers and prevent suicides.
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Go ahead and check out the mela till June 12. After the mela the stocks will be available at APCO Handloom House, Metro Estate, Abids.
Photos: K. Ramesh Babu
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