And Wednesdays are the high point of the week. I live the rest of the week for those 5 magical hours of Wednesday. From Monday, the preparations begin with Deepa and Meena ringing the bell at exactly 9 o’clock. We attach labels to the finished products, discuss the intricacies and the madness which lurks behind every innocuous pattern I throw at them, plan out the knitting schedules for all ten women, weigh out wool, make the packets and gear up for the important day on the horizon.
This month has been a steep learning curve . My right hand, Hema, has been battling and recovering from a serious attack of ill-health, which has left her weak and troubled ( how will Mala Didi manage without my help at home and kitchen), left me busily exhausted and troubled ( how do I be a supportive and patient Didi and not collapse in her absence), and left the knitters worried and troubled ( how do we keep Didi sane and smiling ). The great thing about challenging times is the opening up of so many innovative and smart lateral options in life. A village woman comes in with the first ray of sunlight and cleans and cooks and clears up home and vanishes by 9 am. I have been invited for sumptuous lunches almost every day which leave me satiated and satisfied and happy to give dinner a miss. The dogs trot out for their little forest adventures with the staff, and I can focus on the knitting and the crafting.
Come Wednesday morning and in comes fresh laughter, bright colours, happy smiles and energetic chatter…there is an underlying tension of fear and dread too. Memories of having to rip out all the knitting done for the week, remain on top of their minds. I continue to have that amazing knack of finding that one tiny mistake in the knitting which would have been overlooked while watching a favourite TV serial and knitting! Those episodes of mass ripping of work are becoming rare now. The habit of halting and checking one’s work has become second nature now.
I stand behind the door and watch them checking out each other’s work…there are those divers ( the women who just dive in and find something which should not be there), the justification experts ( the kid was sick, there was no electricity, the needles felt slippery), the complainers ( I can’t find the design row, the knots just open out by themselves, the right sleeve decided to become longer while I was washing clothes).
And then, there is Deepa, my intelligent and proactive assistant. She soothes troubled voices, explains patterns to confused minds, scolds the laggards and translates my exasperated or exhilarated instructions to the others. She has a great sense of humour and an even greater sense of mathematics. It is such a joy to watch her calculate and correlate the gauge issues to each pattern and each knitter. oh yes, click on that link and read the post by Glenna Knits.
In fact, if you are interested in a ball of wool and two sticks, her blog is highly recommended.
Five hours of knitting, drinking tea, singing along with the radio, arranging and stitching patches, recieving and submitting knitted products…it all whooshes past in a blink of a tired eye. Its 1 pm and its time to pack up the knitting, dust off dog hair and return back to the home and hearth. The knitters will go home and get back to the cooking-cleaning-raising children-living the family life, and knitting 6 or 7 hours of the day.
I will go for a well earned afternoon snooze in the sun, a long walk and a very, very quiet evening with the dogs, the knitting bag, spider solitaire and the TV remote.