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Sozni story on my saree

Kashmir is considered paradise on earth. It’s illuminating soft sun rays peeping from behind the hills is a reminder that in spite of the troubled state Kashmir has been in the map of India. It still remains the coveted hill station for holiday seekers all across India and abroad. The local people are tired of […]

September 5, 2018

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Sozni story on my saree

Kashmir is considered paradise on earth. It’s illuminating soft sun rays peeping from behind the hills is a reminder that in spite of the troubled state Kashmir has been in the map of India. It still remains the coveted hill station for holiday seekers all across India and abroad. The local people are tired of the trouble and crave peace and livelihood like before. 

Kashmir is famous for its shahtoosh and pashmina shawls and the lac artifacts and its myriad embroideries. Winters in Delhi we wore the local pheran that Kashmiri men and women wear. Being a Bengali we understood that a shawl always meant a Kashmiri shawl and nothing less would suffice in our endeavour to embody the different cultures of India.
 
My friend Rati who owns a boutique called Anoothi which means unique and what draws me to her is her penchant for Indian textiles and her new found fascination for Kashmiri arts and crafts. I saw her Facebook posts of her solo travel into the valley and I knew I had to meet her to know the change that she encountered within her self realization holiday  after her Kashmir trip.
 
I fixed a day and waited at a coffee shop to meet her after many years. She walked in wearing a linen saree and a vegetable dyed printed blouse and smiled gently at me while drinking her green tea.
I asked her what took her to Kashmir and she told me her story that needs to be retold.
 

She knew she wanted to pursue the trail of the lost ladies of Kashmiri embroidery. She told me about the intricate embroidery called Suzani. This embroidery is from Persia Suzan which means the needle. Popularly known as Sozani. It is a fine needlework done by the sozankar. The embroidery is a herringbone stitch in silk or thread used both on the rumals which the square head piece and Pashmina handwoven shawls.

While many kinds of stitches are used for creating the patterns. But mostly sozani stitch is used which is a kind of fine couching stitch with an overlay of another stitch over it. Darn stitch, stem stitch, herringbone, chain and satin stitch are used mainly.
 
Rati came back with her head buzzing with mixing Kashmiri embroidery in different fabrics to create sarees and dresses and Shalwar Kameez.
She showed me her linen saree collection and I fell in love with the border that had the suzani embroidery on its edges. I draped the saree over my body and matched the white linen with a chanderi pink blouse and I was ready to go. 
 
I went out with the mountain mist in my heart and the Kashmiri ladies love the story on my saree border and I knew I had sealed the look for the day.
 
Kashmiri boats rowing in the Dal Lake and the valley rife with gunshots and army men. The women continue their labour of love, singing songs of love and loss and creating sozni in paper mache style motifs to embroider on pherans, rumals and shawls. 
 
Gunshots can’t kill our spirit of loving life ever. We will continue whatsoever.

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