Shamlu Dudeja and Malika D. Varma

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A nation’s strongest claim to greatness lies in its strong ties with its own crafts, indigenous to each square mile of this mighty nation and many women have been the torchbearers of this movement. Shamlu Dudeja and her daughter Malika D.Varma are part of this exclusive club of women who have fought hard and strong for the betterment of the society where the craft had played a pivotal role.

Reminiscing the past

Shamlu: I remember in distinct frames of tinted colours on the day this nation was born, I was a 9-year-old girl, we lived in Karachi and I went to a Sindhi school that practiced Gandhian philosophies. We eventually moved to Delhi after the partition where my father joined Government of India and I went to Lady Irwin School where I learnt the Kantha stitch from Ms. Lahiri, a Bengali teacher. Life is indeed a package of mysterious surprises.

Malika: I was my father’s little princess and my brother’s protected angel. I cherish the days when my mom used to always wait for me after I return from school and indulge in my happiness. Being part of the renowned Loreto School and knowing that the school and my mother instilled a great value system brings an immense pride that will never be reciprocated in mere words.

 

 

Style file

Shamlu: The mathematician in me looks at this rectangular piece of cloth but the unique bond it forges with the woman who drapes it make the sari an exquisite garment. I have always worn two strands of pearls with some heavy silver jewelry which has stood with me till now.

Malika: The subtle mixture of western clothes and traditional Indian pieces reflect my personality.The glorious Indian embroideries and the interesting silhouettes of the western fashion intrigue me at the same level.

Heirloom

Shamlu: This resplendent maroon coloured Kanjivaram from Madras is from an era when the dasis wore it to the temples. The large frayed borders is an ode to its journey and the artistry of the weavers. The silver hookah belonged to Nawab Wajid Ali Shah who was the 10th and last Nawab of Awadh. It was gifted to my husband Vijay by his grandfather RB Manmohan.
Malika: Every family has material things that are dear to their members that get passed down from generation to generation. But there are also strong family values that get imbibed in our system which has a whole different meaning as years goes by.



Shamlu’s pick Handwoven Ikat Silk Sari and Malika is wearing Handwoven Benarasi Katan Silk Sari.

Malika is wearing Handwoven Kanjivaram Silk Sari and Shamlu’s pick Handwoven Shibori Linen Silk Sari.

Kantha

Shamlu: As a revivalist, I breathe and live for the betterment of this craft. It doesn’t fall only into the realm of fine stitches that hold together few muslin fabrics or the purpose of recycling and reusing forgotten fabrics or about the women who sit together creating magic but rather it’s about the passion, the power of nimble fingers using a humble tool to improvise the vocabulary of the design.

Malika: This humble stitch is more than a craft to me, I have been fortunate enough to travel with my mom to spearhead a movement that not only enriched the lives of many women but also in reviving the pride of my motherland.

Both Shamlu and Malika have deep rooted faith in love that runs the close knit family. They abide by the simple rule where each person in the family gets the personal space and freedom to make their own choices and stand by their opinions. “A delicate balance that has to be maintained in order to stay connected and loved unconditionally” says this lovely mother-daughter power duo.

 

My Parisera Trunk

Shamlu picks three traditional saris for her daughter Malika.

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Perfectly passionate, this Kantha sari will look beautiful on her.

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A brilliant Kanjivaram that reflects her love for tradition.

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The beguiling Kantha will always stay close to her heart.