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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

Sewing with Sapana

My tailoring mentor has a pretty round face and a kind smile, her name is Sapana. But, I am to call her Sapana Didi. She speaks little English and I little Nepali, so we can only communicate with two simple phrase. When I mess up my task, which is often, she exclaims, “Oooh my god,” and undoes my previous mistake. If I have done an adequate job she murmurs, “tik chha” and shows me the next step. I like to listen to Sapana Didi as she works. She has a beautiful voice that reminds me of song birds. She enjoys humming a single verse to a popular Nepali song as she sews. However, her voices shifts to that of a commanding officer as she talks to the other women in the shop. Sapana didi is very popular. People from all over the neighborhood like to come and talk to her. I imagine that that they are gossiping about other locals, swapping recipes, or discussings their days work. But, in reality I have no clue what they are discussing. Sometimes the conversations turns to me. I am known for drawing in a crowd. Women like to come and watch me struggle to cut fabric or watch me undue my crooked stitching. I don’t mind the crowds though. For, the women will sometimes will bring their children. I have befriend many of them. We will sometimes play a intense game of peekboo or they will grab onto my leg and follow me around the shop during my lessons. I always feel bad telling Sapana didi that I must go. Her face becomes long and she lets out a long, “ooooohhhh.” I tell her I will be back tomorrow, and start my 30 minute walk back to my house.