Sarong design adventures
Sarong design is my thing. Do you ever wonder where a product comes from when you see it in a shop, or online? Probably not, because mostly it all comes from huge multi-nationals who just buy off the rack and don’t design their own prints plus they are not that concerned with what they sell, as long as it returns a huge profit. Well here’s one of a series of stories I am posting to let you know that there are people out there who do things a bit differently and we are mostly only found online.
I design all my own prints and travel to a small village in the “Hindu Kutsh” to work in the factory with the villagers to produce fine quality cotton beach wear and sarongs for you to enjoy!
Here is a story from one day in the village:
The boys in the factory invited me to come with them on a pilgrimage to see the Sadus come out of their caves in the mountains so the people could give them alhms for their devotion to Hinduism during the year. We left the village early in the morning on an ancient bus that was packed to the rafters with pilgrims. What followed was an arduous 4 hour journey in a vehicle that I felt was ready to fall to bits at any moment!The wonderful Indian peasants sang chants all the way to the base of the mountain! We then spent the next 3 hours walking up a track next to a river that was packed with thousands of people bathing to gain some respite from the 50 degree heat!
On we trudged, up to the temple right at the bottom of the mountain. The temple was drapped in coloured cloth and clouds of Hashish smoke billowed from the inside were a thousand naked Sadus covered in blue ash from their fires sat around smoking small clay chilums with great gusto! Occasionally one would blow out a huge cloud and yell out “Boom Shankar” while his eyes rolled around in his head! They do this to help them focus in their meditations, apparently?
There were Sadus there who had been standing on one leg for five years and “Nagabawa” who performed all types of penis torture on themselves just to mention a couple! Pilgrims filed past dropping money or parcels of food onto their prayer mats and received blessings in return. One Sadhu who had long dreadlocks dragging on the ground behind him took an interest in me because I was the only white fella in a crowd of 10,000 pilgrims! He spoke broken English and offered to take me on a journey to the top of the mountain. My four factory buddies told me that this was very auspicious and that they would come with me to the top to see the sun set over the hills of Pakistan.
So, we set off up the mountain on a tinny track that wound it’s way ever upward past various shrines and other Sadus doing even more curious things to themselves till we reached the summit some 3 hours later. We all sat on a huge rock self that jutted out from the mountain very close to the summit and waited for the sun to dip below the horizon.As the sun set it lit up the hills of Pakistan over the border with a curious light that made everything golden and surreal! Cries of “Boom Shankar Bolatna!” filled the air as the Sadus fired up once again! My Sadhu guide told me that they were celebrating the passage of Vishnu across the sky in his chariot of fire to dip below the horizon so that “Hanuman” the lord of the night could take over to protect us in our dreaming.We sat there for half an hour to witness this quit extraordinary event and then proceeded to pick our way down the mountain by the light of the most brilliant full moon to the temple where there was much celebration and chanting!
The bus ride back to village seemed much less arduous somehow and the pilgrims chanted and gyrated both inside and on the roof all the way back to the village till our arrival at midnight. Because I took part in this adventure I was seen in a different light by all the villagers and I felt that I had somehow been more accepted by all and sundry. So ended one day in my three month stay in the village and I dreamt in wild colour that night before heading off to work in the factory the next morning! My first cup of Chai tasted extra sweet that day and I was greeted with smiles and nodding heads with every task I performed. The lengths I go for sarong design are what makes my designs original and different.