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A ralli on a voyage

He taught us “The Character of happy life by Sir Henry Wotten” in the first year of college and described every word of every stanza with deep explanations. Probably, for the first time we came to learn that, poetry is an effective mode of sharing emotions. Soon after, we fell in love with literature and books. In fact, Sir Abdul Hafeez (our teacher) ignited the imagination and instilled love for books in our hearts. He used to talk about art, culture and history. We “just”used to see and listen to him as we had no stuff to debate other than reactions of Chemistry, equations of Physics and formulae of Mathematics. One day, we talked about handicrafts and I shared that, my mother is an artist of Ralli (quilts) making and topic was concluded with an advice, to love your culture.

He used to ask about my family especially about my mother and her inherited art of “Ralli”, whenever we met.  Some years ago, my mother made a colorful Ralli based on patchwork pattern and I gifted it to my teacher with the permission of my mother.

Alike hundreds of other Rallies, my mom made it with love, care and patience, and portrayed Vanaspati leaves in different colours. At that moment we didn’t know that this Ralli was going be a historical one.

Few days back while surfing Facebook, I saw a picture of my teacher with same Ralli at Bandaranaike International Airport Colombo Srilanka, I tickled pink in joy. Ralli kept visiting streets and roads, jungles and cities, bazars and schools and artists and galleries. In culmination, every picture, caption and feedback made my mom to feel over the moon. It is only an encouragement, fulfils stomach of the artist, not food or money.

This Ralli had many exhibitions written in fate like stiches in its making. Ralli was in another country after few months, and it was Oman this time. It left people in awe and many requested to have pictures with it wrapping around their bodies. It made their selfies colorful and tours memorable. Culture can boost tourism and empower our economy, if given a heed.

Ralli making is a way of recycling the used fabric. The layers of old fabrics are stitched together first, mostly upper cover is made of different designs and lower remains plane. Designed cover requires lots of labor, time and creativity. This is the part of Ralli that defines its beauty and decides its cost. Ralli making fosters the spirit of team work as mostly three to four women are required to complete it.

These days, rallis are being printed with help of modern technologies, but handmade rallis have their own fascination. This handmade ralli charmed many people when it toured United Kingdom. Our mentor kept this ralli with him while visiting every part of the land, itself a land of culture and art. By exhibiting the work of my mother, my teacher proved a great ambassador for the women of Sindh. These women are highly skilled, brilliant artists and architects but have never been supported and encouraged. The proper marketing and modern education can uplift them economically and socially.

This ralli has also travelled to Georgia, Turkey, UAE and Italy and Sir Abdul Hafeez has still got this ralli with him. We do not know how many more countries are yet be toured by it, but it will attract every eye. Even if it gets stolen, I’m sure the thief would have an eye of an artist.


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