Stitching Happiness together- Suno Suno Banner


 

Today ie 16th November was most awaited part of ‘Suno Suno’ project, a day spent well in basti making ‘Suno Suno’ banners. At first, I was dubious about how people will respond to our request to spend three to four hours of their day in doing something that they’re not supposed to get paid for. To my surprise, the response was tremendous. We went to basti at around 10.30 a.m. hoping people will be done with their morning chores. We had with us a ‘Suno Suno’ banner made by Swatantra art team and all the requisites for sewing. We started calling people for the workshop while flaunting the prototype. We decided to go door to door instead of shouting out loud to explain the reason behind our visit. We wanted them to have full idea about the workshop before they showed up at the site.

 We found a place at the end of an aisle where we could set up the first session of workshop. It was bright and sunny and had enough space to accommodate fifteen to twenty people. Bunch of people gathered around in no time keen to see what we were about to showcase. There were couple of teenage girls and three to four women who showed interest in participating. We spread some newspapers on the floor and asked everyone to take a seat. Then we took them through the entire process of banner making. They listened and watched carefully as we explained each and every step in detail. As soon as the tutorial was finished everyone started the task with full of energy and enthusiasm. 2 Teenager girls were quick to learn and looked totally engrossed in what they were doing. Some children were also around because of Diwali vacation. They contributed by making the the woolen thread artistic pompoms.The first Suno Suno banner was getting under way. Meanwhile, some of us were calling people from other lanes to meet us at the temple which is our usual meeting point with basti people. It was the perfect time of the day as people were done with their lunches.

 

Here, people were waiting for us even before we arrived at the temple. There were so many ladies and girls that wanted to participate that we had to divide them into two groups to make sure that everyone can make some contribution. Ladies were particularly good. They looked flawless in stitching, cutting and weaving. But the real showstopper was an adolescent girl. She showed some spark with her leadership qualities. With her sister and friends, she took the whole responsibility and made a beautiful and stunning banner that was put together very intricately and most importantly in a very short period of time. By afternoon, we had three separate, very attractive banners hung proudly at different locations in basti. Due to time limit we could not stay through finishing fourth and fifth banner. But the ladies agreed to do it at home and finish it before our next visit. people participated willingly. Banners were created  out of love and passion. It was like a cultural activity where people bonded with each other. We also sang songs  that were made on the spot to motivate  them and encourage them to join us in the process. The whole ambience was transformed into divinity. It truly felt that we all were part of something special.

Tushar Joshi,

Writer/Performer

 
 

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