The last time we wore our ‘Kumaoni pichora’, or ‘leopard spotted stoles‘ as my youngest insisted on calling, was for my cousin’s wedding two years ago.
I took this picture of my mother around that time. She was among the few ladies who glowed in her distinctive Kumaoni nose ring. Draped on her was the pichora.
This polka-dotted wrap, the pichora, belonged to my Nani (grandmother). It was handcrafted and had pink dots which were in itself unusual. I have only seen red dots in all others.
According to my mother, during earlier times, ladies used to wrap a coin with some cotton in a cloth. They then dipped it into natural dyes and stamped dots to create these unique pieces of clothing. The downside to that process was that the natural dyes bled easily. Not a good choice to wear with your Sunday best if the day turned out to be a blistering hot one.
Lucky for us, modernisation hit this cottage industry too.
Today we are all proud owners of perfectly printed red polka-dotted pichoras that promise sturdiness and colours, that will always remain bright and hardy.
Yet, on that day, my mother’s stole stood out as the most charmingly unusual one. It was the only one made by hand in a sea of perfectly round, factory printed ones.
See if you can spot the difference.
Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Spots and dots