Friday, October 31, 2014

Bangalore, Mysore

Bhagya and I wandered around the streets of Chik Pet, the old market in Bangalore, first to buy art supplies, then to explore the small sari weaving shops. In one tiny shop, lit by a single florescent light over the loom, a couple sat working in tandem on opposite sides of a single loom. They invited us in, gave us plastic chairs to sit on and served us tea and cookies. Bhagya translated from Kannada and as their hands flew nimbly at their work, we learned that their work was to prepare the silk structure for the weavers. The man told us that he quit school at age 12 to take up his trade and that he had been at it 45 years. None of their three grown children have taken up the trade, so the skill will die with them. We shopped at Bhaskar Art Center, a small, crowded shop also run by a husband wife team who know exactly where everything is. As a customer, you sit at the small counter and request to brushes, etc, before making a purchase. We left Bangalore at 4:30 am to drive to Mysore in time for Agnika's Classical Indian dance rehearsal for that night's performance. There were numerous people to thank and acknowledge, a long process that involves speeches and gift giving that interspersed the many guest performers and the crowds of children studying with master dancer Shridhar Jain. Agnika's performance was impressive; she's been studying and performing for at least six years.