The visiting US President and his wife will be gifted two matchboxes – one having a sari and the other a shawl, creations of a handloom weaver from Sircilla
When the first family of the United States of America flies back home after their India trip later this month, two matchboxes might just find a special place among the various gifts meant for the White House’s occupants.
These are no ordinary matchboxes, for they bear the stamp of not just Telangana, but also the fine craftsmanship of the local weavers. The creation of a hand loom weaver from Karimnagar district, the matchboxes have tucked away within them a silk sari and a shawl.
Twenty-seven-year-old weaver Nalla Vijay, who hails from Sircilla town, got down to work as soon as he got to know that US President Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle would be in attendance at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26. He wanted to make them feel special, and at the same time showcase his rare talent.
After toiling for 15 days, he wove a silk sari using a unique technique for the US President’s wife. The sari, with a mix of gold, magenta and green, also features fine zari work. Measuring 4.5 metres in length and weighing 60 grams, the sari sits finely inside a large-sized matchbox, after being artily wrapped and folded innumerable times.
The silk shawl for Mr. Obama weighs 25 grams, is two metres in length and fits into a regular matchbox. Mr. Vijay said he spent close to Rs.15,000 on the silk gifts.
On Saturday, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattareya unveiled the weaver’s creations and promised to carry them to Delhi to hand it over to the American guests. Noted numerologist Davaigna Sharma also handed over an idol of Hanuman to the Minster to be gifted to Obama, since the US President is known to carry an idol of the Hindu god.
Mr. Vijay claimed to be the only one in the country who could weave such silk products.
“My father passed on this unique technique to me. He gifted silk products in matchboxes for former US President Bill Clinton and a number of top Indian politicians. After his death, I am carrying forward his work,” he said.
In future, the young weaver wants to set up a handloom academy. And there is more.
“I will make a sari with banana tree skin. It has never been done, but I plan to start work next month. It should be ready within 30 days,” said a confident Vijay.