Beautiful Khadi village
It was a long drive of about 6 hours from the city of Kolkata, India to the the village of Khadi. Upon arriving we drank chai from earthenware bowls and ate rotis. The table was set with paper napkins in shocking pink. April in West Bengal can be quite hot but walking in the scorching sunlight was made less difficult thanks to the gracious welcome of the villagers. Most of the village houses were made of clay with wooden structures painted with soil and with thatched roofs. The Okudosan (furnace), which was made as if it grew out of the earth, was where the thread gets refined. I was delighted to see that the village and its surroundings had withstood the changing times and very happy that our khadi was being woven here. The villagers share all of the work from scouring to weaving. At present, yarn spinning has evolved from the old Gandhi charka to the double charchard. Yarn spinning and winding are performed by women, while the weaving of large wide looms is performed by men. One loom was half-buried in the ground to take advantage of the humidity. In the past, every village would make khadi. And it is not so long ago that, in Japan, farmers made natural fabrics from plant fibers. This village, resounding with the pleasant sound of the loom, seemed joyful and full of life. Villagers were always passing from one house to another, or climbing the trees to pick mangoes, and talking animatedly with one another.
On that day, we stayed at a beautiful inn which had been the old factory for dying the khadi cloth indigo. Strolling through the garden at night, I saw countless fireflies shining like bells in the lime trees. The beautiful light was a gift for us on this journey.
April 1, 2020
Thanks and love to Masayo Esaki for arranging this trip to Khadi, to Ushma and Monika of Kolkata for finishing our Khadi up to the block print, and to everyone in Khadi village.