Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
In the late 80s I had heard about the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad and the things I heard evoked a desire to visit.
Life came in the way between me and this little not-so-significant desire.
Twenty five years later, as I planned a business project in the top 10 cities in India, I saw a latent opportunity to fulfill this desire.
As I write this, I realise that one’s bucket list is not created when we grow old or face death. It is a bucket that we carry around maybe from the time we are little, filling it with desires big and small.
And if we consciously make an effort we may still have a full bucket when we arrive at the stage when we have the time, the freedom & the money to afford the fulfillment of these desires. All that we need is the ability to hope – which will plug all the little leaky holes in the bucket that come from life’s little circumstantial restrictions ( a.k.a. failures).
And so in 2014, I planned my travel to Hyderabad, scheduling additional time in the city for these items on the bucket list.
Thanks to Salar Jung and his passions, the museum has many wonderful sections that I will cover in separate articles.
A quick peep into the hall had revealed that most of the exhibits were ‘royal textiles’ a category that I am not personally attracted to. I thought that this section would not take up much of my viewing time and so I decided to view this section last during my second visit to the museum, on the morning of my flight out of Hyderabad.
I was right … none of the textiles made my heart skip a beat. Until I came upon one at the very end of the hall!
A phulkari that was so amazing and so unlike anything I had ever seen that I stood riveted with excitement. I could not have enough of it! I clicked it from all angles smitten completely by its colors and motifs. I felt huge pangs of desire to meet the woman who created it. I stood and gazed – groups of other visitors came and went – school children, tourists & people from other places while I continued doting on this piece. After awhile it struck me that no matter how much I loved it, I could never touch it or own it and I was distraught!
And so, I spent and unexpected amount of time first falling in love with the piece and then feeling bad for myself as I had to tear myself away from it.
I had lost myself in the viewing and lost all track of time. As I reached the gate the mesmerism began to fade and with a jolt I became aware of my space-time coordinates. Panic struck! The traffic gods were kind and I just about managed to make it to the airport in time. Had I missed the flight it would have been with a smile on my face.
A few pictures of the textiles – that do not do justice to the pieces. The glass shelving ruins some of the visual and the phone camera is not really a professional camera.
Patan Patola (Double Ikat)
A Phulkari that is too common to deserve a place in a museum of this stature :
And the phulkari that captured my soul:
The moral of the story is: Museum visits can leave one feeling hungry and empty and distraught and hopeless. Just as a toddler might feel while leaving the candy store without acquiring all. 🙂