Naturally-gifted: Creating beautiful patterns by instinct
ISLAMABAD: Sehat Khatoon sat with her legs crossed on the floor in her dimly-lit stall nestled in a corner of the Balochistan Pavilion at the Lok Mela in Shakarparian.
Frantically crisscrossing her fingers, she was making glass-bead accessories without being able to see the final result.
Sehat, 45, who has been visually impaired since birth, is an artisan from Nushki district in Balochistan. Mesmerising clients, she selected multi-coloured beads from neatly segregated small packs. “My heart is my guide. God has taught me this skill,” she said with a smile.
Sehat, who makes perfectly coordinated patterned accessories, learnt the skill on her own. Holding a needle and a thread in one hand, she skilfully shuffled through multiple packs, picking an accurate amount of tiny beads to create the pattern with the other hand.
She belongs to a poverty-stricken district where she lives in a rented house and begs for a living to make ends meet. “I have generous neighbours who frequently donate wheat, sugar and milk. I also make and sell beaded accessories for additional income, but it’s not enough, she said. It takes Sehat one whole day to make a pair of anklets which sells for Rs100.
Sehat’s husband is sick and cannot support the family. A mother of a six-year-old boy, she manages to take care of her child and run household errands without any assistance. “I can make perfect chapattis and clean the whole house.”
For the past few years, Sehat has been struggling to get support from the provincial government. She sent an application to the government requesting financial assistance with help from friends.
She believes she qualifies for payments from the Zakat fund, but complains her letter did not get through to the right official. “It costs at least Rs500 for two people to travel to Quetta,” she said, disappointed that nothing had come of it.
Sehat travelled to Quetta along with her husband multiple times to submit her application. “The last time we went, my husband started crying and asked me to forget about it. He said instead of begging these officials, you should ask God to help you.”
Using up most of her savings, she has now decided to focus on her small business. Friends and family contributed Rs1,500 for her trip to the capital.
Occasionally fixing her chiffon dupatta, she had made a conscious effort to look presentable in a peach outfit embellished with traditional embroidery. Participating in the Lok Mela for the first time, she is exhibiting her products with the hope of making some profit.