Skills of Gujarat | Milaap

Skills of Gujarat

  [caption id="attachment_7483" align="aligncenter" width="3600"]Areca nut cutter Areca nut cutter[/caption]On a field visit to Wadhwan (Gujarat) I met a woman cutting Areca nut with a tool that looked like a sword. I interrupted her while she was cutting “How do you cut these so precisely?” she said “I am doing this for the past 9 years and this is how I earn my bread ” (I was so fascinated with the tool that I forgot to ask her name).“I have to discard this every year and it cost me Rs3000 to buy a new one from Surat” said the lady. “Can’t you just buy the blade and not the whole tool” I asked curiously. She said one cannot attach or detach the blade because it has been welded on the tool and the tool has to be discarded when it looses its sharpness. I looked carefully and felt  that, she might cut her finger but, she surprised me by cutting it neatly and also strike a conversation during this process.[caption id="attachment_7484" align="alignnone" width="3600"]The lady with her "friend" The lady with her "friend"[/caption]I held the tool in my hand. It was too heavy that I could not hold it more than 4 seconds. She said “It’s heavy right!! But now, its like a friend to me, I take care of it and start cutting Areca nut whenever I get time and this thing has no tantrums. I use it according to my need, it’s just that after after a while, it looses sharpness and I have to get a new one”.[caption id="attachment_7485" align="alignnone" width="3600"]Hitakshi surrounded with her machines Hitakshi surrounded with machines that she uses for making Khadi thread[/caption]I met Hitakshi during my field visit to Surendranagar. She was sleeping around five machines kept in semicircle. The machines makes thread used for making khadi cloth, which is sold in a Khadi Udyog store in her area.  Hitakshi woke up and greeted Dilip bhai who had accompanied me during this visit.I asked her, how she managed her house and these five machines. She said “I manage it side by side, and my husband too helps me with it. Sometimes I do this work at night and sleep during day time. But I am able to earn and contribute to my family needs!”[caption id="attachment_7486" align="aligncenter" width="802"]Diamond or just another stone? Diamond or just another stone?[/caption]Yatin polishes all types of diamond. He says, the diamonds that are expensive are polished by him, while the other diamonds that are used on artificial jewellery are polished by others sitting in his small dark room which is located in a cluster of houses. He says I only get the money to polish and it’s his master who distributes the stones. I asked him whether he knew which diamond was real or artificial.[caption id="attachment_7487" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Workers polishing artificial diamond Workers polishing artificial diamond[/caption]He says “I have been working in this business for the past 15 years and don’t know which diamond is real and which one is artificial.  All I know is, I get the expensive ones for which I get paid Rs 80 per stone”. "Don't you want to know which ones are real or artificial" I asked and he said "I want to but, my master will not teach me. he only comes to take the polished diamond and pay us for our labour".