Subscribe to our weekly newsletter


Do you yearn to hear a quilt-maker’s music this winter on Kolkata’s streets?

15 December, 2019 05:13:16
Do you yearn to hear a quilt-maker’s music this winter on Kolkata’s streets?

I often called him the music man, for his little instrument that raised a storm of cotton fluffs going all around and me running to get hold of those snowy flakes, his makeshift ‘guitar’ did sound like a musical stringed instrument. As every winter dawns in Kolkata, I keep on the look out for that music man of my childhood days, the Dhunuri who used to ride through the para lanes on a cycle with covers and pillows tied to his seat. However, hardly I get to see any of them these days, when we buy artificial fibre pillows online from shops or from home décor stylish enclaves. The string that he used to pull that went with a monotone of tann.. tann.. tann, is heard no more. 

Our dhunuri not just made pillows and quilts in winter, but also repaired our mattresses, for in those days we never bought high-end mattresses of multi-national brands from the bedding stores. Instead, his basic tool would whip up his craftsmanship. Sitting in that courtyard below the banana tree, he would happily weigh the cotton, that he proudly boasted to be Shimul cotton, apparently the best variety, though we had no way to check the authenticity of his claim. Then the Dhunuri used to take out a small square thick cloth, spread it out on the courtyard and started playing on that stringed tool. 

The damaged pillows that needed more cotton to be pushed in or the mattresses that were torn and needed a tuck here or there, all went under his deft hands. He used to pull out the cotton from inside the pillows and mattress and the clotted cotton would get spread through his ‘guitar.’ The vibration of the strings would make the cotton pieces fluffy and soon the heap became bigger and bigger. Then they used to go inside that cotton cloth and pillows would be re-stitched by hand, bit by bit, without even a sewing machine! Yet, they would look fluffy, new and inviting. And as he would leave with the money given to him by mom after a lot of bargaining, I would still yearn to hear that deep musical beat tann….tann…tann!

Leave a Comments

Related Post