This article will envelop everything you wanted to know about Gamcha
The pride of a quintessential Bengali is a Gamcha.
Gamcha, a typical red colour, coarse, pure cotton, checkered towel, generally handed over from one generation to another with elan. Every Bengali visiting Puri during the summer vacation comes back with a dozen gamuchas as souvenirs to be gifted to family and friends with pride.
Every balcony or terrace in north Kolkata is adorned with a lineup of gamchas of various hues. A little boy in Kolkata is born with a gamcha wound delicately around him. On a hot and sunny Sunday, the men of the house laze around the home in their most comfortable attire, the gamcha (what in case of a wardrobe malfunction).The fabric provides unmatched natural air condition and with repeated use gets much softer and cosier. The boy reaches puberty adorned in a gamcha and enters manhood with pride. This little piece of an asset has borne the test of time.
Multiple uses of a gamcha
Any and every traditional occasion in a Bangali household demands a Gamcha, the soft cotton towel. A Bengali wedding, which is a much sought after occassion, out of several customs Subho Drishti is the most vital one, where the bride covers her eyes with two betel leaves while entering the chadnatala (the arena where the marriage takes place). Post the exchange of garlands, one end of the bride’s Sari is tied to the groom’s dhoti with lo and behold, a gamcha!!
A farmer or a villager’s friend, the humble gamcha accompanies him from morning to night. Right from the time he wakes up and has his morning cuppa the gamcha is snuggly held on his able shoulders. He starts his day with the multipurpose gamcha tied as a turban and walks towards the field. He sweats and toils in the little patch of land which only the gamcha is a testimony. After a few morsels of rice, Raghu yearns for a princely siesta under the peepal tree spreading out his humble gamcha to ease his spraining neck.
I am sad to say that the gamcha is on its way to extinction with an array of colourful fluffy towels to compete.
There should be a protest to preserve and conserve the Gamcha culture of Kolkata!!
We shall overcome….the Pete Seeger way…….