Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Enjoying a -Fringe- Benefit

Another great benefit of the foreign service is the ability to purchase bulky items overseas without the worry of how to get them back to the U.S. (when you do return and if it is within your weight limit).

Basharat John from Cheap John in New Delhi graciously came to Kolkata with 50 of his carpets and it was hard not to want to take all of the carpets home. Basharat's family has been collecting and manufacturing carpets for over three generations. He still has carpets that his grandfather collected for sale.

We saw wool, silk and tribal carpets. One interesting fact that I learned was that some tribal carpets like the popular ones from Afghanistan do not have straight edges, mainly because of the nomadic lifestyles lived by the weavers - they roll the carpets in progress and start again at the next settlement.

At the top left of the photo above, is a carpet woven by one man in his 80s. It took the man 2 years to make only this 2'x3' carpet. Most often families stick to one design, improving and refining the design over the years. Basharat has had the ability to watch the designs evolve over time.

A big thank you to Basharat for visiting us. And if you are ever in New Delhi, stop by and visit him in the American Embassy's shops or at 1-10, Jangpura-B, Mathura Road, New Delhi, 110014. You will be "Spoilt for choice!"


Grandma said...

How lucky to have that carpet shopping opportunity. Amazingly beautiful carpets. It is interesting to know that each carpet pattern has a history/story.

Anonymous said...

Just bought one nice carpet rom John - now looking forward to shipping to home.

Natalie Buda Smith said...

We are very happy with our purchases 6 years later. They really make FS housing more of a home with our own carpets. A good investment!