“How much?” Rhea asked the man in the tattered coat persistently dogging her.
“1000 rupees only.”
“Please Madam think of my poor family.”
“But 1000 is outrageous!”
“Don’t mind Madam, how much?” He pointed to her new Pashmina shawl.
“2,00,000 rupees. But this is art – see the exquisite design, the handiwork – priceless. Don’t compare this to leading a pony up the mountain.”
The Kashmiri straightened and his eyes glittered. “For Madam, free trip.”
He picked up the free edge of the shawl and showed her – Ahmed was intricately embroidered along the design.
“I know English also Madam.”
Pashmina wool of Kashmir is from the undercoat of a Capra hircus laniger or a Cashmere goat. Pashmina wool is the softer hair located at the root of the longer hair. Pashminas are 15 microns or less. Each goat produces less than 100 grams of wool fiber. A fine Pashmina would require the annual growth of at least three goats to weave one shawl. Pure Pashmina is said to be almost weightless. Pashmina Shawls are handmade and hand-embroidered by Kashmiri Artisans who spend as much as two years to complete just one wrap. During a visit to Kashmir, our pony man told us that he and his family spent the winter season snowed up inside their homes making shawls. During the summer tourist season, they descended into towns to supplement their meager incomes.
Quote for the day: I can live for two months on a good compliment – Mark Twain