Colour of a Town

Essay 467 • Oct 19th 2020

It doesn’t take too many glances to identify the omnipresence of an object that is draped across Pilkhuwa’s landscape. Situated a mere two-hour drive from the capital of India, the lifeline of this town is sufficed by the production of bedsheets.

Functioning as the most substantial bread earner, the manufacture of bedsheets has blurred lines between ghar (home) and kaarkhana (factory). The home is factory and the factory is home. The assembly line of these factories rotate much beyond four walls and create a nexus between small-scale establishments, craftsmen, homes and neighbors.

Different members of the same family can be seen contributing to the process- dyeing, printing, folding, ironing. In small towns, homes function as extensions of the factory and thus women of different age groups make a significant portion of the workforce. While the creation of these vibrant fabrics infuses the humdrum of Pilkhuwa with harmony, one can also notice the colorful chaos that encapsulates the process.

Whether it be hands making precise movements over a stencil or nimble fingers tying final knots, these works of art can be found in homes, across the country. However, the artists remain unnamed and until now, unseen.


Sadaf Zarreen is a twenty-something from India who spends her days weaving feelings into words and photos. As a content specialist by profession and an aesthetic appreciator by passion, I discovered photography through my phone lens. Between documenting experiences for a picture-perfect feed and following the rule of thirds, I discovered a love that goes beyond filters and leading lines (likes).