First encounter with a weaving machine | Milaap

First encounter with a weaving machine

We were on our way to meet one of the borrowers when I heard some sounds. The field partner who was guiding me asked, “Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of weaving machines.” I looked at her surprised and confused. Giving an awkward smile I said, “I thought it was the sound of a river flowing.”

As we walked in more into the colony, the sounds got louder. I was filled with excitement that I would get to see how a weaving machine works. There was a house with a big hall on the way before reaching the borrower’s house. Through the window, I could see a man standing near a big wheel with thread rolling on it. I asked the person, “Can I come in and see?” He allowed me and I entered the room. There were around hundreds of thread cones placed on the floor.

These threads go through a wooden bar to the big wheel and then to the weaving machine. I thought “Okay. This is a bigger version of the spinning wheel that M.K. Gandhi used back in his days” and came out of the room.

Before leaving the colony, I came to know that the colony’s name is called ‘Tantipara’. Tant means cotton thread which is used for weaving and ‘para’ means colony in the local dialect. The main source of livelihood of the people residing in this colony is weaving. That is how the colony got its name Tantipara which means weaving colony. The people here have been involved in weaving business since the beginning of the colony in 1971. Back then they weaved sari, gamucha and lungi. But now, they weave gauge bandage as it consumes lesser time and is a more profitable business.

I have seen weaving machines before but they were either kept unused or were handloom. Here, for the first time, I saw weaving machines in a weaving colony that can weave without the presence of any human as long as there is power connection. The machines were connected to electric motors which do its work when the switch is on. How cool is that! I have never been fascinated by anything like I was for this machine (but just for that moment). It was an interesting experience which will become a ‘there was a time when’ story for my adopted grandchildren.