An Intern’s World View
Clad in jeans, sneakers, snug in a jacket to ward off the winter chill, pretty Priya Bisht, 22, mingles effortlessly with women of Purkul Stree Shakti. They are a motley crowd in colourful salwar kameez, bantering and working as they needlework the patchwork quilts, cushions and other products. In her final year as the student of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Navi Mumbai, Priya is a textile designer and is interning with Purkul Stree Shakti. Already in the one month she has spent here the women are translating her designs of surface ornamentation for her bed linen collection in a patchwork geometric patterned quilt, cushions, decosham, accents and sleeping pillows. Done in striking turquoise green, peach, canary yellow and off white geometric patterns she admits her design is inspired by the open natural environment of Purkul and contemporary feel of the 80s and the 90s.
Priya heard of Stree Shakti from her seniors who had interned in Dehradun’s remote village Purkul nestling by the blue hills of Mussoorie. It was here that Priya came and was captivated by a tribe of workers headed by a snow haired Chinni Swami, and asked for an internship. She is currently working on her table linen collection which will consist of table runners, tray covers, coasters, napkins, tea cosy, bottle cover and apron. ‘Stree Shakti’s meticulous hand work is what attracted me here, their attention to technical details and finishing is what makes them superior to others.’ Since the past four years as part of her course, Priya has already interned with the Japanese company Asahika Kasei doing fesibility study for Bemberg or bamboo fabric. She has also interned with Patanjali, Dmart and other NGOs but it is at Stree Shakti that she feels she has learnt the most. ‘I really like Stree Shakti’s women self help groups and feel that I am contributing effectively by using my skills to enhance theirs. It is team work. I really admire Chinni Maam’s way of handling and encouraging women that has created such strong camaraderie. I have learnt so much here that the college course theory cannot bridge the gap of actuals on ground education that I have got from these women – authentic hard work, fair wages and free trade which is Stree Shakti’s USP. It is truly inspirational.’