The order was for one #118 mallet, our cutest dinkiest [wool-head] traditional Nepalese mallet, together with two cover cloths, one royal blue with gold “Profound Sounds” embroidering, one velvet, Tibetan monk red, also with the gold “Profound Sounds” embroidering. It all fits neatly in a USPS Small Flat Rate box. Very pleasing.
Now I will tell you what this packing/visual evoked for me.
Post-earthquake Kathmandu 2015
We did not have these plush red velvet cover cloths until last year. We were in Kathmandu in late Fall 2015, our first sojourn there since the massive earthquake that Spring. In one way, the city looked to us much the same as before. But that’s only because Kathmandu always has part-built buildings, unfinished or not begun sidewalks, piles of rubble waiting for a family crew of adults (often with even their small children alongside as fellow laborers) to start building. This means the devastation is not exactly discernible, until you step in close. We, for instance, were brought to a different abode than is our usual receiving place. The 4-story home that we have arrived into multiple times, now so compromised with fissures that a full crew of extended community was attempting to salvage it. That was the first dramatic reality.
No fuel, no cars; clean air
The second was the fuel embargo that was being imposed on Nepal from India due to contentious new Nepalese Constitution. This was unofficial (no formal admission by Indian government) but very real and starting to bite at the local level. During the weeks we were in Kathmandu we were immersed in the milieu of fast-dwindling gas supplies, with private cars the first to be rationed and ultimately denied refueling.
The silver lining for us in this state of affairs was that the ever-present polluted air of the city cleared. It was breathtaking and we were breathing, crystalline Himalayan air! We could see the awesome mountain range that had never been visible in all the years we had been coming. We rented bicycles, an unprecedented joy, suddenly very appealing because we were not taking our lives into our hands. The roads were empty, the air was clean.
The Nepali embroiderer
And then there was the embroiderer from the village, for whom I had a warm place in my heart since he had in a previous trip, exquisitely embroidered Toothless (How To Train Your Dragon) on a t-shirt for my granddaughter.
The embroiderer walks from village to city every morning to sit at his sewing machine and embroider incredible intricacies of design. His mastery is awesome to witness and the earthquake severely impacted every Kathmandu artisan (international tourist trade way down for fear of more quakes).
So I had the thought that he could embroider a whole batch of new cover cloths for us.
It almost seemed that it couldn’t happen when he told me sadly that they were unable to receive any of their usual supplies of fabric due to earthquake-related losses in suppliers and manufacturers and access..;
“But you know…”, he pondered, “we do have something right here, if you think it could work…”
And thus Best Singing Bowls was blessed with one sweet batch of Tibetan-red velvet cover cloths to mark an historic moment in Nepalese history.
Oh, and he embroidered this one-off delight just for us.
Corrina McFarlane, BSB