While we waited to enter the Calico Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad I saw this on a car sticker. The modern city was hectic, hot and frenetically challenging. Taking a Tuk tuk ride from our hotel I pondered on how few accidents you see. Traffic flowing like a shoal, moving as a whole, individual actions merging into a momentous throng of beeping horns. Tuk tuk drivers steer from their hips, navigating with expert skill round moving obstacles. Faith is mandatory, Prayer optional.
We hadn’t booked our tickets We were due to visit the next day however due to a change in travel arrangements, today was our only day. They limit admission to 1 group of 20, a guided tour walking through room by room, preserving the museum. There was a large party in front of us and we had the usual confusion of being told where to wait, how long it would take and to whom we needed to speak.
The train horns and car fumes surrounded our senses and I prayed. There were a few things I had been excited about for this trip and the Calico Museum of Textiles was one of them. To think we might not get in was heartbreaking. After what seemed a long wait we were ushered in, bags checked in, no photos allowed, we progressed into an oasis of calm.
The high walls surrounded a garden and instantly we were transported to the India I had dreamed about. Lush, green trees, abundant lush floral displays, water channels cooling us as we walked to the museum.
We had joined the tour with a group from Mumbai, fashion students, busy taking notes, drawing designs, intently listening to the guide. I choose to take in as much as I could just from experiencing the rich history. Every part of India is represented, stories told in colour, design and stitch.
As we turned one particular corner a vista appeared. Looking out from the veranda to a pond, a peacock on the lawn and the smell of pungent flowers I was overwhelmed with a sense of being connected to the beauty of nature. How we choose to live our lives contributes to the cure from the fever we have created by dishonouring nature.
Anne Morrell, the author of many manuals of stitch designs from the Musuem, has renewed my passion to continue my journey through the rich history of Indian design, where creating textiles as an essential part of life, taking inspiration from nature to relish in its beauty.
Photo of museum credit to