Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Art of Quilting

In a remote village there once lived a wise old woman. She had many hobbies but her favorite one was quilting. She was famous for her bold designs and masterly stitch. None could match her abilities which was why she stitched effortlessly the most exquisite and marvelous quilts using bold bright colors and trigonometric designs and hexagonal patterns. She wove pure magic.

One unfortunate day the old lady broke her glasses and sadly enough became disabled from her poor eye-sight due to which her project was left unfinished. She pushed aside her sewing paraphernalia and sat in her old rocking chair. Days passed without her doing her craft and she wondered how the quilt could be finished. Just then she came up with a brilliant idea and she gathered some enthusiastic youngsters who envied her art and craft. She volunteered to teach them how to stitch. So daily these youngsters came to her home for her valuable guidance and she provided them with the squatting space, sunlight, threads, needles, scissors, fabric and pattern. Whilst they stitched, the old lady served them with dry fruits. The students sometimes demanded fresh fruits saying they were tastier than the dried ones. The clever old lady would gently cajole them saying “fresh fruits were messier than dried ones….”

At times when the process of quilting slowed down or would become tedious, the wise lady would pull out a different bright colored fabric that would immediately engage the young minds once again. She would instruct on how to fancy cut the bright fabric and introduce it into the design. Soon berry red, royal blue, seaweed green, bright orange, plush magenta colors with a wide array of other colors were all used in the design of the quilt. The old lady cleverly introduced a newer pattern and cuts into the existing trigonometric design.

Eventually the quilt was completed by the youngsters. It was not only eye pleasing but astonishing for the quilt had an exquisite wealth of color, design, and neatness. It also had a great length to it which made it extremely peculiar and rare than the rest. The crafty old lady crafted an extraordinary quilt but not by herself. All she did was, give a nudge and the rest of the enchantment came from the youngsters. There was one concern in the village of what would happen after the quilt was completed. Would they start taking interest in gardening??

photo credit:http://cdnpix.com

11 comments:

  1. Naheed Ahmad : Thanks for a beautiful story dexterously stitched and woven. The way I see it, there are two characters in the story; The Lady and the youngsters. First and foremost, I wouldn’t refer to The Lady as ‘old’ because that has other connotations like out-dated, redundant, worn-out, rusty and of no practical use. But the way you have portrayed her, I would rather borrow a phrase from The Holy Bible which, in my opinion, does justice to her character i.e.“The spirit is willing but the body is weak”.

    The plot, too, is most interesting and the character of The Lady has been justifiably elevated in the sense that, even though with her experience, skill and art, she could have conveniently opened her own Embroidery Center where she could have earned enough money to buy herself many pairs of glasses of far better quality. But, rather than belittling her art which she had so religiously inherited from her illustrious ancestors, she chose to remain in the tribe and pass on to the youngsters the sacred values that came down from bosom to bosom about being firm without being rude, floating one’s own opinions without rebutting other’s, always thinking that others are equally, if not more, knowledgeable and respectable and, above all, having a strong ego to defend basic matters of principles while keeping away from artificial and inflated ego that begins with ‘I’ and ends at ‘my’.

    I am all the more impressed with The Lady for the fact that, in spite of the uncontrollable urge for skipping details which is so characteristic of youth, she imperceptibly teaches them how to tread the path with patience and perseverance and reach the destination step by step and then be proud of a well-earned reward. Being a teacher of sorts, The Lady seems to have a peculiar way of making the patterns on the quilt more complicated and the choice of colours more confusing with a view to hammering into the psyche of the youngsters the importance of handling a difficult situation with patience and sportsman spirit. Occasionally, they see the goal-post slipping away when they think they are almost there and, in their frustration, cry ‘cruel’ and ‘grilling’. But, being intelligent lads and lasses, they know that obstacles make a task more challenging.

    It seems that The Lady wants to tell the youngsters that the hall-mark of their tribe is mutual respect, merit and rule of law and that there are no top-dogs and under-dogs and that the only way to convince others is with the power of argument and not the pitch of voice. The beauty is that both The Lady and the youngsters know that it is the stitching, the thread-work and the pattern that is more important than the quilt.

    Finally, Naheed, I want to thank you for introducing such a wonderful lady to members of the family but, alas, such characters are found only in fiction..
    posted by Malak Naz

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  2. Mr. Malak: your interpretation of the story is better than the story itself!! Thank you for reading and commenting. Your participation is greatly appreciated!!

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  3. Thanks; but honestly, leaving aside the allegory part, your story of the old lady is, in my opinion, the best that you have written so far. The language, the flow and the choice of words is faultless.
    Malak Naz

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  4. Yes Naheed,and though, i ,most of the times ,can decipher it well,yet i cant jot down a line like you,even if i tried...that muddy pool idea /analogy was also superb!
    Faiza Asif

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  5. A post-thought : your story about The Old Lady is well-conceived and the allegory-effects are perfect. Somehow, I see a blip when I look at the word 'project' in the second line of the second para. Normally, we associate words like project, assignment and enterprise etc with the modern-day urbanized culture. Your story, on the other hand, is conceived in a background which goes back in time to a Far From the Madding Crowd environment. Anyway, it was just a stray thought; nothing special.
    Malak Naz

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  6. Regarding the word project, I agree that the word is more suitable and used in modern day aspects referring to the Corporate enviroment but here I used it to refer to the planning of the structural design of the quilt itself. After all trigonometric designs need careful planning and proper execution otherwise the outcome is..... : )

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  7. though quilting wasn't really a thing of our country... but we do crochet... but similarly... it's art. nicely told... Yahweh bless.

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  8. Lovely story, Marjaan. And especially good comments! I love tales of wisdom, age, and youth. You have penned a nice one here. :-)

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  9. I loved this story! You had me the whole way and I felt like I could see the woman and the children working on the masterpiece. Thanks for a great tale! I found you on Twitter and am now happily following you on here as well!

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  10. Thanks Kathy for visiting and commenting!! your time and your views are very much appreciated..looking forward to see some of your work too!

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  11. Beautiful story, Marjaan! I love quilting, but writing leaves me no time for it.

    ~Debbie

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