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Beautiful Language

A Message from Jane:


After several days of traveling we are now in Bagru, 30 miles south of Jaipur in Northern India. We arrived in Delhi around 1 in the morning and drove though the night. I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined our drive.

Trucks travel at night because they are not allowed into the cities during the day . This means that 1000’s and 1000’s (and that is no exaggeration) of trucks carrying the goods that supply a city of 31,0000,000 people travel on a somewhat divided and completely under construction 4 lane highway. For the first hour I couldn’t look ahead without covering my eyes and trying to swallow my gasps. The moon was full and provided overhead lighting the whole way, perfectly illuminating the terror in front of me. Everyone else in the car had been to India before and were completely at ease with the situation. I was paralyzed with fear. I will never, ever again, complain about tourist drivers on Salt Spring in the summer. We drove all night and arrived in at Maiwa’s block printing and dyeing studio around 8 am exhausted but alive.

Within moments I was looking at a way of life that has existed for 1000’s of years. Walking through the farm I saw 80 or 90 lengths of cloth laying out on the ground drying after being printed and dyed.

Indigo Kaka (indigo uncle) has been dying Indigo forever. Beside him were bolts and lengths of fabric that had already been dyed in Alizarine (a vegetable dye like madder) and then printed with a mud resist, waiting to go into the indigo vats.

The word Maiwa means ‘beautiful language’ and the language of cloth was spelled out in it’s many syllables all around us. We saw vats of indigo, madder and huge scouring vats. Oh, what a site!


Stay tuned for the next week’s installment of Jane’s adventures in India.

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