When things go wrong, then there are a hundred ways to make it right. That is the message from the ruins of Chendamangalam Handloom. Chendamangalam was one of the worst flood-affected places in Kerala. It is located in the Paravur taluk of Ernakulam district which is known for its handloom.
For the weavers handloom is their main source of income. Their life and livelihood became a question when flood water entered the factory and receded only after 8 days, spoiling the machinery and weaving materials.
From the ruins.
The worst part was the stock produced aiming the Onam market got drenched and stained, and the hard work went in vain. When the flood water receded, the stained cloths cannot be used even after washing. This condition gave birth to the concept of Chekutty, the term means 'girl who survived the flood'. Chekutty is a small handmade cloth doll made from flood stained fabric of Chendamangalam Handloom. The concept was born in the thoughts of Social Activist and Fashion Designer Lakshmi Menon and her friend Gopinath.
In order to help the weavers of Chendamangalam, Lakshmi tried to clean the fabric by chlorinating the clothes but the stain and fungus were deep - set and the cleaning seems to be useless. So she thought of highlighting the stained fabric which survived the flood irrespective of loss of beauty and perfection. Thus the concept of chekutty is survival and resilience, not beauty and perfection. It shows the inner strength and willpower.
From one saree, 360 chekutty can be made and for one Chekutty the cost is Rs. 25. Usually, one handloom Saree costs Rs.1500 but a saree used for making Chekutty can fetch Rs. 9000. Cost for a Chekutty should not be considered exorbitant because of the cause it stands for. The fund raised by selling Chekutty will be handed over to Handloom Society.
Chekutty is the symbol of hope. For its creators, it is a storyteller. Chekutty has a tale to tell, a tale of surviving. In the process of survival, it might have lost the outer beauty and lustre but not the inner strength and courage. It is a perfect gift with a strong message. Chekutty can be used to adorn the walls, cars, rooms, bags and a perfect gift. It is the perfect way to rebuild the lives of handloom weavers who lost their livelihood but not the hope to start a new life from the ruins.