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  • We stayed at Pachan at the Army transit camp, ten kilometers from Manali.
    Pachan is a village by the Beas, the river that strings all the people of this region together. Distances seem large. We walk a short distance and are out of breath.

    We stopped at a little tea stall by the river, the little tin roofs are dripping from the rain and huge highway trucks thunder past, the diesel fumes seem unbearable for some reason in this aseptic air. We sat on wooden benches facing each other, Siddhartha got out his sketch book and I set to cleaning his stained pens, they've started leaking because they can't seem to handle the altitude change either.

    That’s when I saw the carpet weaving looms inside the shop, and got talking to Khila, the lady who ran the tea shop. Khila sells ski suits to tourists, has a running kitchen and teaches girls from surrounding areas weaving in the evenings. She says it doesn’t earn her much, and there’s no use for rich people to learn how to weave a carpet, but it does become useful for young girls from the surrounding areas who are from struggling families.

    We spoke to her about why she wove carpets, and she said it was a way to remember where she is from. She said her sons studied in English medium schools because it was needed to survive today, to be taken seriously, but culture was ‘something like child birth’. When a child is born, she is attached to the mother by the umbilical cord. It must be cut, … but the memory of it will pull the child back. It must.
    If it doesn’t, then no mother can do anything.
    The child must remember to remember.

    Slice of life. Women stories (Take 2)
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