"For me, weaving is a process of unity whereby independent threads come together to unite and form a bonding of love."
"Hello, I'm Santosh from Kolkata, the City of Joy, and growing up here was so magical. The smell of the early morning chai on the road side and the misty fog on a cold December month, enchant you with delight.
"Kolkata is known for many types crafts, but the most renowned is our rich textile legacy. The most beautiful textiles and embroideries come from this state. I work mainly with Jamdani weave - one of the most brilliant textiles I have seen in my life. It basically originates from Bangladesh but now it is extensively woven in West Bengal.
"It was indeed not an easy ride for me as the weaving community is dominated by men, but slowly the community accepted me, we bonded well and now we work together. I feel so blessed to be able to know and appreciate the magic of Indian textiles. I feel the younger generation should really take this up as the special gift that it is. If they do not take any interest in our textiles, it won't be long before this craft dies out. I hope that more and more people start buying only handmade and handcrafted products, this will help grow the hand-weaving industry.
"It's been such a wonderful journey, with lots of ups and down… and some funny moments too. My name is a male name and most of the time people expect to see a man, so they are always surprised when they see me.
"For me, weaving is a process of unity whereby independent threads come together to unite and form a bonding of love. Although I never studied textiles formally, I have been somehow been associated with textiles through various engagements, which really made me fall in love with Indian textiles more and more, until I finally took it up as my profession.
"I learned the art of weaving from the weavers' service center in Kolkata. The mantra to be an expert is to weave and weave and try out new techniques all the time. The blend of materials and the combination of design and colors are what make your creation stand out.
"We work mostly with muslin, primarily khadi cotton, and blend it with silk, linen or wool. The most interesting part of my work is setting the loom as all the tricks of the trade lie there. The beauty and mystery unfolds as you weave – it's so magical!
"Being able to do what you love is such a great feeling. You are able to express yourself. Also, being associated with weavers in the community means you are able to give them work and earn a better salary. It feels amazing to know that most of the weavers who work with us now have their own house. I feel a sense of satisfaction."