Sitting on the front porch of the house an old lady (about 70 years) twists threads around her finger all the while looping in a big plastic needle structure in the other. Children, big and small, move around her hardly paying heed to her work. All of a sudden a little one moves close to examine the speed at which the needle moved in and out of her fingers. Her eyes popping out she questions her, “Grandma, what is this and how do you do this?”
With her brows raised answered the old one, “This is a tattoo needle and I am weaving tiny flowers that can be affixed on your frock.” Taking her eyes of her threads she said, “I am glad that, of all the children who have come here to spend their holidays, you have noticed this handwork.”
Just like this little one, there are only a few who observe what their grand mothers are good at. Many of their talents go unnoticed. “During our days all of us knew how to knit a sweater, sew on a button that had come off suddenly, draw a quick kolam, play traditional games, weave baskets and make purses out of beads. I am surprised that children these days hardly even try to learn any of these arts,” says Mumtaz Alam, an entrepreneur from R.A. Puram.
Mumtaz plans to bring in the elderly from old age homes such as Vishranthi and Kakkum Karangal to Crescent Girls School, Pycrofts Lane, near Sankara Nethralaya, Nungambakkam, where interested little ones can learn all these arts which have been fading away from the society. The classes will begin from May 15 and go on till June first week.
Mumtaz Alam plans to tap the talent of the old and induce it into the youth. Children will be taught to re-use articles. For instance, an old bed sheet can be turned into a pillow cover or a curtain. The pallu of a torn silk sari can be turned into a cushion cover and so on. She also feels that since children hesitate to learn from their own mothers and grandmothers they would react better to that of others. They will also be able to get cookery tips from these old people. “These people are good at home remedies and home made food. Instead of dialling up for a cookie or pizza, if children learnt to shrug off their laziness and involved themselves in the kitchen in a small way, they can have easy access to home made food,” opines Mumtaz.
In connection with the Mother's Day celebration, the entrepreneur had displayed goods made from waste products done by women. On show, were paper jewellery, products such as gift boxes made of newspaper, jute and egg shell products. Some entrepreneurs such as Sudha Sankaran had displayed useful kits for kids.
One can reach Mumtaz Alam at 9940059217 / 9841427217.