Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
My evening on the terrace has often turned into night.
Alone with the stars and the sound of the sea and the darkness, I have found myself lying on the cool tiles, watching the constellations as they follow the sun and set in the Western horizon.
I can see no creatures and no creatures can see me [I hope].
Eventually I lose my courage and slink back into the safety of walls.
But before that happens there are amazing moments spent in solitude – being one with the universe.
Last time, I was also reminded of the childhood summers in Surat where we all slept on the terrace on mattresses laid out next to one another. All chatting until we fell asleep. Some of those nights Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar and Sahir Ludhianvi and S. D. Burman and Hemant Kumar joined us – well at least with their voices if not in person.
Such nights under the stars are dreamlike in themselves – there is no need for the fantasy of riches or anything else that is usually considered to be necessary in everyone’s dream.
Ever since, even through a very busy life, these dreams – the seeds of which were sown in childhood – remained alive.
All that was needed was a terrace. And a mattress. And the night sky.
And now in my 50s, it is time to live all those dreams that were dreamt across the span of a lifetime
And so the first little step is to try it out with pillows and mats.
Mats that have withstood many such nights and will withstand many more….
Naturally, the details of this dream include a beautiful old weaving which will magnify the experience a thousand-fold: a lovely Verneh from the 1800s:
For, through its travels across space and time I shall be connected to its history and to people I shall never meet and to places I shall never visit. And through its imagined adventures I shall connect to the stars that were also watching when this weaving was being made!
It has already lived a hearty life so I won’t be worried about spoiling it. And it is beautiful enough to distract my thoughts and prevent me from fearing the other creatures of the night that might want to join in. And light enough to run down should we be blessed with unexpected rain!
Some may say it is too precious still and must be allowed to live more instead of putting it to use.
But my thinking is that it is sturdy enough to serve again. And again.
And life, well it must be LIVED. Not just put on a display wall of a museum or instagram or Facebook.
Maybe even the rug will be happier to participate in real life than to be a wallflower!
So here’s to dreams. And to lives that will be lived heartily!