At the Khadi Bhavan

I went to Khadi Gramudyog Bhavan (Khadi Village Industries House) to buy the white cotton khadi (hand-spun, hand-woven cloth) kurta-pajama that Ramesh wears to sleep in. The kurtas are made of thin, soft cotton which is very comfortable. (When they wear out, we cut them up to use for hanging yoghurt, to drain out the water before making shrikand or dip. I recently discovered that they also make good paint rags for my watercolours.)

The store is old-fashioned, selling the kinds of products which Mahatma Gandhi advocated for village self-reliance: mainly cloth (all of it khadi), but also some foodstuffs, traditional medicines, handicrafts, bedding. Above the shelves where goods are stacked, printed signs admonish: "Even one drop of untruth will poison the entire milk ocean of truth."

On the way out I stopped at the silk counter, and bought a couple of lengths of raw silk for kurtas for me. One bolt which I liked -- a rough grey with white flecks -- didn't have enough fabric left for a kurta. The man behind the counter said, "You know, if it's machine-made fabric you can place an order for 5000 metres and it's no problem. But with khadi, we go to the weaver and buy whatever he has produced, and then half of that goes for ready-made garments. So we're often out of stock. And when someone comes and asks for something, and we don't have it... I feel a little sad."

1 comment:

Jillu Madrasi said...

what a nice story. That the man at KGB cared -- that is great to hear.

I often feel that people at these stores don't really take any pride in their products. It is nice to know I am wrong.