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The Astitva Project – Phase II

April 06, 2018 3 min read

Soon we will begin the next phase of the micro project.

We will work with the same ethnic group that we did last time but this time it will be the men who will learn and teach.

For, it is the men that weave that particular textile element – the sash. The women are only involved in finishing the fringe ends of the sash.




The calendar plan is in place. The tickets booked. The local transport arranged.

And the most important resource has been arranged: the only men who have the skills for this textile art have agreed to be impart their knowledge.

Student recruitment has begun – men of 30+ are being drawn to the purpose.

Loom production will begin soon. Materials will be procured soon.

Sadly naturally dyed wool is not available so we will make do with what is available. At this stage the focus is on transferring the skill from one generation to the next. And we will move one step at a time and leave natural dyeing for another phase.

Things have started rolling again. There was no great launch party  – no champagne bottles being opened – no sounds of fireworks – no music bands. But in serene slow motion, the butterfly wings are fluttering again ….

Keeping our fingers crossed.

Luck, destiny, serendipity – all mostly synonyms  for nature & weather in Ladakh –  play a huge role in the Himalayas.

[In 2017 I personally experienced a heartbreaking debacle: My son was to join me for a visit to nomadic kids – where we had planned an elaborate IQ games project. Everything was in place –  a suitcase full of manipulative games – the people – the transport – the schedule – the plan  and me.  Only he was yet to arrive.  On the night flight from Singapore he reached Delhi with a connecting flight to Leh scheduled for the early hours of the morning. But as luck would have it, there was a snow storm in Ladakh and all flights to and from Leh were grounded. He was stranded at Delhi airport. For the next 3 days this continued. Us waiting stressfully in Leh – with zero internet in Leh, occasional text messages, listening to the radio for news and watching the airport for flights coming in or gong out. No flights came. With the support of family that offered a relay of messages my son and I managed to stay in contact. And finally at the end of 3 days we aborted the mission and I planned to leave Leh for Delhi and onward (which again entailed uncertainty since no flights were coming in). But with some friends who knew friends I managed to get out on the first flight that came in to Leh and was returning to Delhi.  A month of long preparation ended in null. Heartbreaking for me. But for him – at the peak of resilience of youth at 20, this did not translate into tragedy as he spent his time binge-watching TV shows downloaded onto his phone! At that time I was so dejected that I thought I would never return to Ladakh again. But as always one must forget the little debacles and begin moving again. Now I go in with the expectation that this can happen in Himalayas …and this uncertainty must be built in to the plan. It is a price I  am willing to pay for the magnificence the place offers.

As Bob Marley said:


And she’s more than worth it, so I’m going back again!]


Thanks to everyone who bought from the ebay sale in which many little woven souls assets were converted to cash.

Previously done work on the Astitva Project can be seen here. 

Progress Update here

jaina mishra

April 2018



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