When we were in our 8th standard, a new girl had joined school.Good Looking,soft spoken,intelligent and an instant hit with the teachers, and by default not too popular with our lot. By ‘our’ I mean the little gang that we had going at that time,the main purpose of which was to take food from the outsiders (read as marwaris),talk only in assamese (more so when the nuns dictated that we were only to speak in English inside the school premises), roll socks down ,roll sleeves up and of course plonk ourselves at the last bench. I say ‘our’ since we clearly lacked individual brains to think on our own- or maybe peer pressure dictated that we collectively love or hate people and things.
As luck would have it,there was a seating re arrangement as the teachers felt we were getting a tad too comfortable in the last bench , and I was made to seat next to the ‘new girl’. I hoped I donot get that infectious disease that she had of reading books and solving math problems in between classes (or periods as we called them in our convent school). We did not have much to talk and considering I was never at my seat during free time ,we really made no effort to ‘know’ each other.
We passed out of school and took up different streams in Junior College and gently drifted away. Till two years back we got in touch through Facebook and tentatively we re-introduced ourselves. This time as two individuals me without my ‘gang’ and she relieved of the burden of carrying the image of the ‘perfect school girl’ (sorry K :P). And guess what?We had so much more in common.Or at least at that time we were at the same phase of our life-bored of our corporate jobs and eager to do something different. Long conversation through which we got to know more about each other’s lives and interests. I don’t know if I came more as a revelation for her or was it the other way round.
And we realized that we both wanted to do something with/for North-East,something we both felt passionately about. For me it had to be something to do with travel and hence GypsyFeet. For her, it was garments and fabrics and weaving and hence Red River.(Assam is the land of Red River and Blue Hills)
They say Assamese women can weave dreams in their looms. If so, then Kakoli and her sister Nilakshi are the perfect dream-traders. They go to the remote areas and track down the dying tribal art forms of North East,reviving them and recreating them to suit modern lifestyles. Curtains, Cushion covers, runners, wallets and bags all with a touch of the North-East.
The grudge that I had against traditional art forms in North East, is that it always had a crude finish and there were no innovations. The same bags with malfunctioning zips, and dull finish to all handicrafts. Red River trains its weavers well and it shows in the nice finished products.
( I have fallen in love with the colors)
Right now,they retail at Mother Earth, Bombay Stores under their own brand and supply to Fab India, and to boutiques in and around Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, and they sell online through their eBay store (http://stores.shop.ebay.in/The-Red-River)
You can browse through their catalog on their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Red-River/216808472619?ref=ts)
I think now I can figure out what was it about her that made me stay away. Her strive for perfection and need to be the best in everything she does.You see,by then I had already embarked on my journey of cynicism and apathy and my strive for mediocrity which I was to master a few years later.Now,when I am struggling to undo all that I can only hope some of that rubs off on me . Right K? 😛
And what do you guys think of the products?