Memories | Flash Post 320
What do you think these are, Button?
No. Try again.
Well, craftsmen have painted human figures playing different musical instruments on them but, in reality, they are hand fans. Can you recognise any one of the musical instruments in the paintings?
I can recognise the dholak.
You’re right. I can also recognise the flute, the sitar and the bugle. But the primary objects are hand fans. I remember my grandmother and mother–the lady you’ve seen and known– using them to help fan air on sultry and hot summer days to keep the circulation going thus giving us some respite from the heat. I also remember them spraying water on the fans because that made the gentle breeze brushing our faces even cooler. Mind you, the summers we experienced as kind dos weren’t as hot and humid as it was then.
I love to hear these stories from you. Didn’t you have any fans at home?
We didn’t and I don’t know why! May have been because we couldn’t afford them?
What were they made of?
Of dry palm leaves which used to be cut in a particular shape with a handle at the side. Some were even decorated with frills on the edges. Still others had the craftsman turning them into colourful objects by painting on them.
You can safely say that these craftsmen went all out to make these fans as beautiful as they could.
You can also safely say that they were designers, craftsmen and painters all rolled into one.
At the end of the day, these craftsmen toiled to create an object of beauty.
Then came plastic fans that didn’t need any creative skill or any toiling. They were machine made and churned out in bulk with no characteristics of their own.
Then came air coolers and, of course, air conditioners.
Temperatures in Europe this summer rose to almost 40 degrees Celsius, an unheard-of thing when, in the past, it had touched 30. That’s a rise of 10 degrees when the weather bureau had predicted a hike of 2 degrees every year! And who are the culprits, Button?
Humans like you!