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Weaving magic

The vivid colours of Sankranti find echoes in the exquisite handlooms


SOME OF the stalls at the handloom exhibition organised by Dastkar Andhra have been neatly arranged under a `natural' signboard. The prices there may sound a bit unnatural for those who visit the expo at the YMCA, Narayanguda. But the stock - chunnis, churidhar material and sarees in semi khadi - does retain some natural glow, courtesy some lengthy indigo dipping sessions.

"These fabrics are dipped in indigo six to eight times. The more they are dipped, the less are the chances for the colours to run," explains Ramya, the in-charge of the expo. The adherence to vegetable dyes does limit the variety, since there is lesser scope to experiment with colours, she adds. Bright-hued chunnis come at Rs. 300 and material, mostly the Kalamkari variant, costs Rs. 85 per metre.

Facing these stalls are the poor cousins - the `chemical' stuff. Prices ease out to Rs. 55 per metre here. There is the mix `n' match stall where you can choose the salwar, churidhar and duppatta separately. Duppattas here range from Rs. 90 to 160. The entire fare on display is the handiwork of Dastkar's design studio. In another stall, the designers have mixed and matched what they felt was most eye-catching and packaged them. The churidhar sets start at Rs. 400 and some hover around Rs. 650.

A Gandhian tinge

Sarees are the pick of the lot with quite a decent variety available in the Rs. 400 range. There is a 25 per cent discount too on those that fall short of the 5.5 metre mark by a few inches. "There are no other blemishes," assures Sambhavi, a member of Dastkar's marketing association. Khadi shirts come at Rs. 300. The colourful ones burn bigger holes in pockets, thanks to more and more dips in indigo and other dyes.

Another speciality is the `Decentralised Cotton Spin' or the DCS khadi, which would apparently make the Mahatma proud. No power-fuelled machine has come anywhere close to it. The good ol' charka shoulders the entire burden of the `Gandhian cotton', which costs Rs. 65 per metre.

The exhibition, which is on till January 9, will give naturalists another reason to rejoice. You take home your buy in paper bags... plastic is a strict no no.

SMITA PYLEE

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