Monday, May 10, 2010

Good bye, USHA! 27 years of sweet memories...


Sometimes we never know that we are so much attached to ordinary things, until it goes out of our lives. We take it for granted when it is in front of our eyes. We think that it is occupying the extra space and cleaning/dusting it, is an extra work. Once it is removed from that space and when we look at the empty floor with scratch mark, our heart becomes, sort of, heavy, maybe for the first few days - I feel so now, I might be wrong, only time will tell.

I learnt to pedal a sewing machine as soon as I finished school. I went to some free classes for a few days, in the school holidays and learnt to stitch the corners of kerchief-like squares! When I was pregnant with my first child, I stitched napkins for the baby - again squares and triangles! No 'Huggies' were available in those days (1976!)! I used my neighbour's machine for stitching them.

After we shifted to Hosur (I remember Smitha's words saying that I write a lot about Hosur which must be my favourite place, yes, Smitha, you are right!) and settled with the school routine of my children, I joined a tailoring class. A Maharashtrian lady taught me and I and my friend used to go to her house thrice a week for 2 hours. I got very much interested and wanted to buy a machine. Got this USHA machine for around Rs.2000 (27 years back!) and paid in instalments of Rs.200 a month! I stitched so much that though it was a 'table top' model, I never folded it and used it as a table until some years back, no, I should not lie (!), say 10-12 years back.

I remember going to the local textile shops and buying for pittance, the last pieces of blouse and dress materials, design and make frocks and skirts out of them. Since I don't have daughters, I used to gift them to my nieces, friends' daughters, etc. I remember stitching umbrella cut skirts, frocks etc. with garden dress materials (one type was called china silk and it never faded for a long long time). Did smocking, applique work, mirror work etc. on frocks. Stitched pinafore school uniform dress for my friend's daughter, full-arm shirts and full pants for my sons (though not many!)too.

I had many many good friends there and once three of us planned to do an exhibition of baby dresses. We stitched nice cotton jablas and small frocks etc. with embroideries. Small small dresses with smocking...all were of pastel shades. Tied some ropes on the walls of my friend's house and hanged them with clips. The price was very nominal. Because it was a housing colony, news spread very fast and people visited our exhibition and everything was sold within two days. I remember stitching small small flowers (french knot, chain stitch etc.) at night after finishing all the house work, on frocks and kerchiefs. I learnt many new things from my talented friends, when I was in Hosur. One friend was an expert in cutting and designing, one was good in embroidery, I was good in stitching and to some extent, in some embroidery too......hmmm...those were the busy busy happy happy days!

I used to stitch my own blouses until nearly 15 years back. Mostly high necked blouses with short sleeves, sometimes round necked with long sleeves. Then when we had a function at home, I started giving my silk blouses for stitching with lining material to a tailor and lo, that was a wrong decision! I stopped stitching blouses! Later on, the machine was used only for stitching pillow cases and other ordinary things. Then, most of the time, it was used as a table!

We had been thinking of disposing it off, for sometime now, because it was lying unused and occupying space. When my servant maid said that she was looking for a second hand machine for her father-in-law, I decided to give it off for a nominal amount. Nothing is valuable if it comes for free, my husband always says. So, my machine was sent off and after it left my house, I feel bad now. I was consoled by my friends, saying that they had sold their machines long back!

'My pyjama is torn near the ankle and no machine to stitch it now', my husband was grieving, today morning!


Anonymous said...

You know, something, this post could have been written by my mother :) She has (still has it :)) an Usha sewing machine and she still does a fair amount of work on it :) We keep asking why she wants to strain herself - and pat comes her reply - this is something I enjoy :) She made such cute stuff for Poohi when she was little :)

I think most homes of that generation boasted of an Usha sewing machine :) You used to gift your nieces too :) Seriously - You sound so much like my mother :)

I can imagine how you feel - it must be like an end of an era :) But your maid would be getting full use out of it, which is really nice :)

Sandhya said...

wordsndreamz: I used to stitch like mad, in those days, sometimes till late at night. Stitched lots and lots of dresses for girls - my sister's daughter, mainly and SIL's daughter, then SIL's grand daughters...some of the China silk dresses went to the next babies too! These girls have got children now and I have lost touch/interest with stitching!

Yes, the machine will be very useful to her family.

Nice to know about your mother, Smitha.

Kavita Saharia said...

Same scene at my home too...this machine that we all are so attached to was not in use until last few weeks...i requested my ma-in-law to stitch some napkins for my school going kids ,i bought lots of dress material so that she can stitch frocks for my daughter...since than she is so happy(my ma in law).

I am home early today and could hear the sound of machine right from our verandah.

lovely tribute to your old friend USHA.

Hi are you ?

Anonymous said...

Its always hard to part with things that hold sentimental value to us. Can understand what you must be feeling, Sandhya.

To look at it positively, you are not discarding or throwing the machine away, but giving it to someone who needs it more :)

Sandhya said...

kavita: Welcome back! Will wait to see the pictures!

If some small children were there to use the dresses, I would have retained the interest in, have lost interest. I admire your ma-in-law!

I am fine here, Kavita, thank you!

Deeps: Yes, felt bad, feeling bad even now, after two days, thinking if I did the right thing! And yes, my maid's father in law has already started using it and he was very happy to notice that the machine is in very good condition. 'Ammaatte romba sandoshamnu sollu', he told her, it seems.

Swaram said...

All ur Hosur posts take me bk to Blr and make me miss home so much Sandhya. Nevertheless, I luv reading them, bcoz u write them with so much passion and I cn feel the enthusiasm.
Abt the auto drivers, the pets and now abt this exhibition .. simply beautiful :)

Hv any pics of any of them?

vimmuuu said...

u know what, I thought this was a post dedicated to some Usha you know who happened to... !! Sheeesh !!

You stitch your own clothes??? good god !! how did you manage to take your own measurements ?? lol :D :D

and send your hubbys pyjamas to the maid !! Im sure she will recreate magic wid your usha ! :D :D :D

Sandhya said...

Swaram:Thank you, Swaram! We were not used to taking photographs in those days. You won't believe, we didn't have a camera for many years. I have got very minimum of my sons' photos too, of those days.

vimmuuu: Skipppp answer...!

The maid might curse me for asking her to stitch old clothes, just because I gave her the machine!

Saritha said...

Oh sandhya had my mom read this post,she would have taken my sis for a task as she took the machine from my mom and sold it because she thought it is very old to keep that in her house and she brought new machine.

You u know we used to stitch nighties,skirts,slips etc.Till recently my mom stitched skirts and slips for varunavi.

We used to go to tailor shop and get small clothes and stitich dresses for the dolls.

Even i am attatched to my things,when i lose or i give it off,i feel bad for many days.Recently i lost my titan raaga watch,still i go to that place in a hope that i get my watch there.

I would have asked u to give those garments stitiched by u to my kids.

Roshmi Sinha said...

Wonderful post... very well narrated.

Yes! As they say: nostalgia is priceless!

P.S. I too went down memory lane... and this post brought back memories of the sewing machine we had at home till some years back...

I never knew how to operate it though...

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Sandhya! Yes, I think our generation has lots of memories like these.

We used to use appliances and other things like sewing machines for so many years without buying new ones!Even my mother still has-and uses- a sewing machine that she bought when I was a child- some 40 years ago!!!

Renu said...

Even I have usha machine, though I hardly use it now..earlier I was very fond of stitching and embroidery.

Sandhya said...

varunavi: My machine was stitching nicely and was not rusted too! I don't know whether I did the right thing or not!

I stitched a set of pillow covers (I prefer white linen covers!) and some other things before giving it off.

Do you or your sisters stitch? Yes, your mother will definitely miss it!

My father too bought me a watch for Rs.100(my first watch!) before my SSLC exams started! I had it till some years back then gave it off to my maid! Yes, I don't like to lose my old things, like you, Saritha.

If you had been here, maybe I would have continued to stitch, Saritha, thank you! No young children/girls were there in our immediate family and I lost interest in stitching.

Roshmi Sinha: You said it right, nostalgia is priceless, you can see that in many of my posts, Roshmi!

Manju: Is your mother still stitching? Great! Maybe because she has got girls at home!

I didn't plan to give it off! My young maid told me she wanted to gift her father-in-law a second hand sewing machine because his first son committed suicide recently and so he was upset. He is a tailor and stitched for other tailors. If he had his own machine, his mood would divert from the grief and he might become active, she said. Then I thought, since I don't use it much, if I give it to her, it might be more useful. So decided suddenly and the machine is gone. It is still in very good condition and he has started stitching too!

Renu: Our mood changes from time to time, Renu, it is natural!

Ms.Chitchat said...

Loved the write-up,every word of it. You have a nice space with interesting posts. I still have my Usha sewing machine, guess what, it is hand driven. Even I used to stitch frocks,mostly sleeveless and of course the tears here and there. Glad to follow u to catch up with ur posts instantly:):)


Aparna said...

My ma-in-law still uses her USHA and it is more than 50 years old. My mother sold hers off some years back. Both these grandmothers had stitched an enormous amount of frocks for my daughters. Sometimes I do tell my mother in law to dispose off her sewing machine as she finds it difficult to sit and sew for a long time now. But she says "only after my death"

R. Ramesh said... v get attached to things:) as kavita says this is a lovely tribute to your old friend USHA.

KParthasarathi said...

Most houses the story is the same.The fashion maker machine that my wife had bought years back is doing the duty of a table for which there is no need save sentimental reasons.
Nicely written

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Sandhya.

Not able to identify with it and yet in some strange way I do.

Because even if you replace the word sewing machine with something else...something of that era..the nostalgia will still remain the same.

27 years is a longtime. It is the kind of association that my family has with an old mixer grinder,a salora B&W tv, an old oven, an old maruti 800, a vijai Super scooter..

Just read Smitha's post on nostalgia and here I am drowning in it...:)

Sandhya said...

Ms.Chitchat: Welcome here, Chitchat! Happy to know that you liked what you saw here in my blog, thank you!

Visited your blog and read a couple of your interesting posts. Will come back and read more!

Aparna: Most of the women knew stitching, in my time. I have seen sewing machines in most of the houses. My aunt used to stitch frocks for me with lots and lots of frills, which takes long time and patience to do.

Your mother and ma-in-law are great, they are still stitching! If I had grand children, maybe I would have continued!

Ramesh: Thank you, Ramesh!

K.Parthasarathy: Mine also served as a table for my printer, most of the time in recent years!

Indyeah: Yes, we like to associate ourselves with our ancient memories and every single small thing of those days are important to us because of the happy memories, Indyeah, though we have got more sophisticated gadgets now!

Smitha's thoughts are expressed beautifully in her post!

Anonymous said...

:) Post tells that you are really gonna miss Usha :)

I never had a sewing machine

kanagu said...

Generally i wont attach myself with things but surely they will make me feel for few days when i lost... Surely you Have done a lot of stiching then... My mom always said that she should learn stiching but she never did :(
I Have kept the Tv which entertained me for 19 years with me when we bought a new tv 2 years back... Dad said that we can sell it... But i didn't want to as its one of my childhood memory :)

Anonymous said...

My mother has her Usha machine (Made in England in god knows which year) and she loved stitching. She still stitches occasionally and last year we cut an old red sari of mine and she made a lehenga for my nine year old niece :)
We also wore home stitched clothes till we reached our teens.

I didn't inherit this from her, I tried because I thought it must be fun to be able to create any thing you want to wear for yourself - but no luck.

It's great to have a talent and a hobby :) But I think it's good that you gave it away - you have the satisfaction of knowing somebody else is using it - it would have rusted if you didn't.

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

Hey sorry came after long time here..

Usha sewing machine.. my mum has it .. not the paddle one but the small black one .. i remember he sewing stuff for me and my NAni ma awww God bless her..
in good old days there was this fashion whcih came like bell bottoms and there was triangular different colour on sides of trousers.. I still remember she sewed it for me .. and then they came all the way to chandigarh to give it ..

Good old days ..

In my case I still got my first bicylcle i had.. and my Scooter and now when i got a job the first car i got i still got it .. Everyone keeps saying sell it , sell it .. but i just dont have the heart ot sell it , so hopefully my trustworthy car will go to its end with me .... touchwood..

Its amazing how many things we have in our hosue stocked up so olddddd.. and the BEST thing is these old things WORK better then the new stuff..

Sandhya said...

nimis540: Welcome here, nimis! I think so too!

Kanagu: When we are young, we take everything for granted, but when we become older and start changing things, then we feel how much we loved the old things!

Nice of you to keep your old TV with you. Now, I feel that I should not have disposed off the things my children used. I am keeping some of their school prize books, their tiffin boxes etc. though!

IHM: Your mother is great. The lehanga must be beautiful on your niece.

Your talent is in writing, you are a celebrity writer now! Age is no bar for can keep on writing.

Yes, the person whom I gave the machine has started stitching with it and is very happy that the machine is in good condition.

Bikram: I remember bell-bottom pants, Bikram. It needed lot of material to stitch too! Like you, my children also wore what I stitched for them!

I too had this habit of piling up old things, but now, while shifting houses, I hand over many things. Maybe I should have kept some things. Yes, old things are far more sturdier than the new ones. I remember reading about your first car in one of your posts, Bikram, nice!

radha said...

I bid goodbye to Usha a very long time ago. It was not like yours - probably more ancient - since the machine could not be put in. And could not even be used as a table. My mother used it more than I did and it was useful to have around. I had to keep it out in the balcony for lack of space in a previous house of ours, and the plastic sheet that covered it fell off on a day it rained and the wood got drenched and started expanding and the machine began to rust.

R. Ramesh said...

hello vanakkam ungaludaiya complimentirku nanri nanri nanri..naan june 1 st week chennai varugiren..mudinthaal sandippom ellorum..insha allah...

sharada.econtent said...

Hi, So sad, we should have had a farewell party for your USHA.. So sad, I know, how you must be feeling. It's ok.. you can get a new one for your D-I-L when she comes.. and you can stitch for your grand children!!!

Sukhmandir Kaur said...

I had one of these many many years ago. i wish we could still get them so much better for the environment as they take only our own energy which helps keep our figures too.

Sandhya said...

Radha: I disposed it off, for the same reason, space and I don't seem to use it much, nowadays. But it was very useful all these years.

Sharada: Shall we have the party at GRT Grandays? I am thinking of buying the telebrand table top model, already! Who knows, I might start stitching again, as you said!

Ramesh: Welcome to Chennai!

Sukhmandir Kaur: Welcome here, Sukhmandir. Yes, your point is right,our own gym at home!

dsdsds said...

I know this is a very long time from the date of the post.. but even I want to learn stitching.. I am not able to go to any class as my son comes home around 12-12.30. Once he starts full day, I might too learn these.. your write up was quite inspiring and emotional. My paati had a Usha sewing machine and she too used to stitch her own blouses and petticoats.. she passed it on to my mom after she could not sit for long hours when she was 70. My chithi also has one.. she too doesnot use it.. She has lent it to her neighbour who has repaired this old beauty and is learning to stitch.. I think all ladies are so attaa\ched to their sewing machines.. need to feel it on my own too.. I hope I will also learn it soon

Sandhya said...

Hema: It is nice of you, not only to read but comment on this post!

Yes, we cherish our old things when we start getting older and no more use them like before, esp. when we decide to dispose it off, we start remembering the whole history! I had bought it in instalment payment, when I was in Hosur. I used to attend 11 to 12.30 class, which a Maharashtrian lady was running at home. My children were going to school then!

Please learn it and it is nice to wear our own stitched clothes. People will also admire us!

Zephyr said...

I am all thumbs when it comes to doing something with my hands, except pounding on the keyboard and stirring stuff with spoons :) My sisters were the creative ones. She tried to teach me to stitch, as she had done her teachers' training in sewing from Usha of course, but no use. So she made me hem, sew on buttons and hooks and eyes for hooks and made sure I did a good job of them :) I am keeping my Twin just for the memories and because I couldn't bear to give her away!Loved your post on your Usha.

Sandhya said...

Your sister seems to be a creative person.

I learnt stitching from a lady when I was in Hosur for 3 months. 3 classes a week. I was stitching my own blouses and dresses until a few years back. I bought the machine on instalment basis, I still remember! My maid had gone to some class and was looking for a second hand machine and so I gave it to her since I was not stitching much. She is stitching for her family and outsiders also now with that machine. It is sturdy and good, she says. Somebody is happy because of my machine.

I have got pleasant memories of the stitchings! Thank you, Zephyr!

Shail said...

Reminded me of the days I used to own a Singer machine, and used to stitch :)

Sandhya said...

I feel that people of our generation and the previous generations too, had a sewing machine at home and somebody used to stitch...I haven't seen these machines in any houses now. We don't repair the old clothes now...throw them away and get new ones is the norm now. So, no use for sewing machines!

I liked stitching and you must have too!

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