Swathed in fabric
We’ve been in India for 5 days, and it feels like we’ve been here for weeks.
Our adventure started in Delhi, where we arrived early June 29th morning (and we mean early, like, 3 am early) and set off in the direction of the export surplus market. After locating the relevant area in Delhi, which took walking into a couple of stores and stopping some rickshaws in the middle of the road to ask for directions, we finally came upon rows of rows of...shuttered shops. Turns out that the export surplus suppliers were on strike for the exact days that we planned on being in Delhi. Just our luck! We did, however, come across one enterprising supplier who took pity on us (and spotted a business opportunity) and opened up his “warehouse.” After wading through meters of deadstock, we managed to whittle down our choices and bought some lovely material. Exhausted by the day’s adventures, we headed off for a snack at Bengali Market, where Meghna grew up eating from the age of 5.
The next day, we braved the monsoons and made our way to Dastkar’s Nature Bazaar, where we stumbled onto beautiful handloom fabric that we bought outright, much to the amusement of the shop owner. Having hit our list for Delhi, all there was left to do was head up to Old Delhi and stuff ourselves silly with kebabs from Karim’s and get rained on. It is monsoon season after all. At least the rain was warm.
Another early morning flight later, we were in Hyderabad, which was a little more relaxed as we knew we wanted to explore what the Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association had to offer. We were welcomed warmly by their staff, who took us through their stock room, explaining the quality of each fabric that they source from small weaving societies. We were really spoilt for choice, but after about 3 hours of looking and re-looking at the fabrics, we finally made our purchases. Of course, no trip to Hyderabad is complete without a pilgrimage to one of the old biryani establishments (yes, we like food) and we ended our stay with the famous Bawarchi biryani.
Chennai almost felt like a homecoming after being on flights every other day. We hit the export surplus market to see what goodies we may find, and hit the motherload when our supplier from the last time decided to open his storage unit to us. Friendly and very savvy, Manjunath Reddy made our day. More on our Chennai misadventures in another post.
At the end of our buying phase of the trip, we’re armed with 280 odd meters of fabric, that we’re very excited to create our pieces out of. We head off to the farm tomorrow to start production. Watch this space for more updates!