The Silver Lining
How do they separate precious metal from the garment? Following shopkeeper Ganesh Yellapa More to his house in Balajinagar near Katraj answers the question. Sitting behind a four-feet-high pile of saris in their drawing room, his family rips off the zari borders from the plain cloth. More says he collects the saris at his shop and transports them home every month. Pointing to a framed picture of his parents, he adds, "My father did this for almost 50 years. He came across some of the greatest finds in his time and even donated a couple of garments to the Raja Kelkar Museum."
After the borders are separated, More heads to his "workshop" in Hadapsar, in the outskirts of the city, for the actual work. "I put the bundle of sari borders in a pot and heat it. The cloth turns into ash and the silver is left behind. We then re-heat the silver and make small chunks and sell it to jewellers. The silver from those days was 99.9 per cent pure, unlike what is sold today," says More.
Back in Bohri Ali, Bafna admits to the fear that his business might eventually take a hit. "No one makes these kinds of saris anymore... it is a dying business. I don't think my children will join it," says Bafna with a sigh.
(*Names changed on request)
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