Pearls of Life
At Fallaknumaa, we aspire to bring handcrafted luxury to your doorstep. We take great pride in the work of artisans and their stories. We are constantly on the look-out for experiences that connect us to our culture and heritage, the very soul of magnificent India.
On one such hunt for a heartwarming story, I chanced to meet Dilbasia, a Godna artist from Chattisgarh. It was a hot and humid afternoon in June. While the world was hiding in their homes from the intense heat, this lady was relentlessly working on her piece of art, transforming a 9 yard plain cotton sari into a hand painted wonder.
I watched in complete awe from a distance. A frail, old woman of 60 something, feverishly creating art with her tiny feeble hands. She brought to life a piece of white linen, painting the motifs and patterns of the Godna art form from Chattisgarh in India.
She was also heavily tattooed, and that peaked my interest that much more, being a fan of body ink myself. And she had the most amazing stories to tell about herself and her tribe.
All men and women are tattooed or inked atleast once by the age of 15 in Dilbasia’s tribe. Body ink in these areas is called Godna (literally meaning carving). By the time they are ready to get married, the girls are bejewelled with body ink. The art is essentially used as a way to add jewellery to the body. So a necklace is drawn around the neck, a bracelet created around the wrist, an anklet on the ankle and a bindi on the forehead. Some others got their waistline inked and others their backs.
This is a way of the tribe to protect the very thing that makes their girls pretty and gives them a certain status in their tribes. The more the girls are inked, the better their status in the tribe. And no robber can ever rob them of their jewellery, since it is a part of their own body, explained Dilbasia. But that was not all. In most cultures in India, if a woman looses her husband, she is stripped of all her jewellery and colour, and is forced to live a colourless life. But in her tribe, Dilbasia narrated with a clear sense of pride, even a widow remains bejewelled and attractive for life. And when she dies, she carries her own jewels to her tomb. Everything about Dilbasia was mesmerising; her stories, her simple toothless smile, her heavily wrinkled hands, her enlightened aura, her melodious voice with years and years of singing with the tribe.
And in a few mins, just like that, Dilbasia spoke of life, death and everything in between. The simplicity of her thoughts and beliefs was endearing. Is life really that simple or have these simple people solved the puzzle we call life!
Stay tuned for more.
Aroti Akash Tugnait
Founder Fallaknumaa Freshwater Pearls