Here is a picture of me wearing a Naga shawl. When my father, an army officer got engaged to my mother he was posted in Nagaland. As a gift to his fiancé, whom he had seen all of once and then only heard from in letters, he got her this shawl. My mother who had never left Kerala all her life, was going to start her journey of moving from one place to another every 2 or 3 years. This shawl went with her everywhere, its comfortingly heavy wool draped over her petite shoulders on top of a kancheepuram saree on cold nights in Jammu or completely engulfing her diminutive form as she sat at home in cold Devlali waiting for dosa batter to ferment and rise. This shawl came to me when she moved on to wearing lighter weaves and I find in it's comforting warmth and unfading vermillion, a link to the story of how my parents started off together. It is almost impossible to wear this shawl and not have a most unlikely person strike up a conversation with me about how I came to have it.
Thank you Shikha for a stunning picture and heart warming story.
Shikha Balakrishnan is a photographer based out of Chennai, Bangalore & Goa.