Sunday, December 30, 2012

They sell mats since fourth generation

Circle is not just a prominent landmark in the heart of the city, but also a place where nutgrass weed mat sellers having been eking out a living since centuries. A countable number of people, majority of them are women, can be seen even today selling mats (chaape) a vocation practiced, since the time of their ancestors dating back to more than 150 years.

In this era of modernisation, with the arrival of fancy carpets made of plastic, wollen and various other materials the demand for nutsedge weed mats has dried up. But still the family members do not want to give up their traditional livelihood and are striving hard for their survival.

According to Malligamma who is in this business for past 50 years, she used to accompany with her grand mother from her childhood to sell the carpets in KR Circle.

"As there were no bus facilities, my grandmother and mother used to walk all the way from Kadakola till KR Circle. In the past there was good demand, but for the past 5 to 6 years, we see good business only during festival seasons and certain special occasions,” she added.

Hucchanayaka another traditional mat seller says: “There are only three persons who make mats in Kadakola, which are very expensive but lasts for ten years. But the demand for such mats are very less in market. So, we purchase the mats from a distributor which are brought from Tamil Nadu where the prices are very competitive. The prices of mats sold here ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 1500 depending on the length,
width and the size.” This traders come here by 7.30 am in the morning and sell the mats till 9.30 pm.


'Korai' is the tamil name and 'chennikaddi' called in Kannada for Nutsedge Weed, which is used for weaving. Its grown by farmers in Tamil Nadu who are involved in grass farming. According to Malligamma, mat weaving is a painstaking job and long process has to be followed.

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