LOST PROFESSIONS

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There is much to be said about ‘lost professions’!

I wonder if anyone has been to a darner of late (i.e. If they can find one!). Or maybe, nowadays, when there’s a tear in your clothes, you just give it away or dump it in the skip!

Why am I writing this article? Well, my son Leroy has this pair of black stretch jeans which he loves so much that he just can’t let go of them although it is badly ripped at the crotch. He was flying out to the UK this morning and he came to me last night with a sad face asking if I could do anything about the tear. My eyelids felt like lead and every part of me screamed ‘sleeeeeeep!’ but then I had seen my seamstress mom darn my clothes several times for me when I was little and I thought I could manage to do it too.

I found the black thread with a rather large needle stuck into it. I struggled to pull the thread through the eye of the needle and doubled the thread and knotted it just like my mom. Soon I was stitching the tear just like her and within 15 minutes, I was pretty pleased with my handiwork! I was also happy to see the look of appreciation in Leroy’s face as he examined it like my mom’s client would!

Back in those days, Lakaki laundry in Margao used to have a ‘darner’ seated on the pavement, just outside the door. He was an elderly man with many-colored strips of fabric piled next to where he sat. He also had a box of different sized needles and reels of thread of different colors. He was always busy darning and was always reasonable in his fee. His work was very fine indeed and I’ve never heard any customer say anything negative about him. After I first returned to Goa for a holiday, I was at Lakaki to hand over some suits for dry cleaning, but the darner was nowhere to be found. When I asked the boys at the counter, I learnt he was no more. The trade also appears to be no more!

Next time you see one, do stand and watch with amazement. Encourage the person with kind words. If you can afford to give the person a tip, let it be a good one! After all, these professions are almost extinct now and we should save them with our patronage.

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