A Handloom Weaver’s Call

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I’m the skin over your skin

the layer that first meets

every danger that life puts you in.

I’ve shielded you from the sun

kept winter’s teeth off you

been by you every milestone.

When you were born

I wrapped you tightly in my arms

and never let you miss the womb.

When your mother had to eat

her mother ensured I was nearby

so you could hold me and still smile in your sleep.

When you went to play, I took the first hit if you fell.

I breathed so you could run—light as the wind.

I absorbed your sweat and tears.

I wiped up your every mess.

I hugged you when you slept and

didn’t complain when you drooled.

When you met your sweetheart

I decked you up differently each day

until one day, in your best, you proposed.

On your wedding day, when you looked in the mirror

I was with you—adding colour to your cheeks

and more than a sparkle to your laughter.

In the canopy that you married under, I was there.

The tent of love that was your home

had many imprints of my touch.

From the kitchen to the bathroom

from the bedroom to the storeroom

I was there—unobtrusive but indispensable.

I had your back against the cold floor.

I blocked out the harsh noonday heat.

I soothed summer’s rage off your baby’s skin.

I brought that sudden smile to your father’s face

When you gifted me to him and he hugged you.

I was there when your grandmother was returned

to the earth with her pickle smells, wrinkles,

magical remedies and recipes.

Not just today but from an ancient past

that you cannot remember

I’ve stood between you and nakedness.

I’m the skin over your skin—the layer that

first meets every danger that life puts you in.

Today, as I stand on the brink, will you hold me

or simply turn away and let me sink?

 

[The handloom sector, the country’s second largest employment sector, is severely affected by the pandemic and its effects. The abrupt abolition of the handloom board, the financial depression and the absence of proactive measures are worsening the situation. This poem is a call towards investing thought, understanding and affirmative action in the handloom sector.]

 

 

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Updated On : 18th Aug, 2020

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