For Akunuri Cherala, creating the handloom dhurries that put Warangal on the map goes beyond merely preserving an ancient craft. It is a way of life. One, he hopes, will be carried forward with the same enthusiasm by future generations.
In the meantime, though, he is certainly doing all he can to ensure the sanctity remaind untouched. A seasoned artisan, the cotton dhurries woven with immaculate precision are testament to the over 50 years of skill and dedication he brings to the loom. Indeed, his love for the craft has inspired the 100-odd weavers that collectively form the Shatranji and Nawar Handloom weaver Co-Op Society, of which, he holds, albeit rather self-consciously, the office of vice president.
Like the intricate, coolly logical patterns he weaves in vivid hues, his journey, too, has been a rather complex, yet single-mindedly determined one. The head of a family of seven, perfecting and preserving this craft has always been a foregone conclusion, though fate hasn’t always been on his side. The now oft-told story of the pandemic rears its head in this one as well, what with him losing a significant chunk of business during an extremely uncertain and tumultuous time. He, however, chose to emerge wiser and, armed with a “can-do” attitude, is spinning tales adorned with sleek, modern sensibilities-though never straying too far from beloved, traditional ideals.
After all, the best stories offer a blend of the old and new, complex and creative. And, as Akunuri Cherala’s tale tells, overcoming the odds is often an unsaid caveat of an unwavering, instinctive grasp of the craft. Perhaps what makes it worthwhile is inherently knowing the value!