Chunnilal’s Sarees

Chunnilal's SareesAtif woke up late today. He was supposed to get up early, despite being a Sunday, he had planned to reach Mitra Enclave at ten. That’s when most of the people in the area would be at some sort of a get-together, some family annual day; he had overheard the other day, at least three thousand were expected.

“Its an opportune moment, Atif…we should make most of this get together, ” his elder brother Ali had said, “You should reach at the right time”

La haul vila kuvat….I am late, Ali will kill me.” Ali was already out to the other part of the city. He had left early. Today should be a watershed-day in their lives.

Atif and Ali had trained hard, learning each and every trick of their assignment. It had to be accomplished without any mistakes – their family’s lives were at stake. The flood had taken everything away and the muavzah from the Government had not reached their family. Their livelihoods were lost in the  deluge, their lives were literally at the Lord’s mercy.

This seemed to be the only way out when Ashraf, their Kashmiri cousin, approached the brothers.

“It should give you everything you want, learn it fast, come to Delhi and accomplish what you want”

They held on to every word he has said about their work. “Try to find a place where there are a lot of people. The effect is always better. You will be able to achieve more.”

Atif quickly washed and got dressed. He did not want to miss this opportunity that might secure their families lives. He had to work faster.

It had all come down to this day. He tied his backpack. Closing his eyes, said a humble, quiet prayer and reached out to pick the large packet kept on his bedside.

It had a bold red coloured “Chunnilal’s Sarees” written on its sides.

“I must reach Mitra Enclave’s get together fast. I think I can make a large number of sales today. We need the money to rebuild our home” he thought as he set out.

The crowd at the get together was a shaukeen crowd and he planned to make a killing at his stall, for which he had got permission to setup, the other day.

He blessed Chunnilal Kak, a Kashmiri Pandit, had kindly agreed to let Atif and Ali sell the sarees he manufactured. Chunnilal had built his manufacturing unit after much struggle. They were banished from their homes 25 years back.

Today, he was employing the Kashmiri youth to change their mindsets and eke out a respectable living selling Chunnilal’s Sarees.


  • La haul vila kuvat: Urdu / Arabic meaning “There is no might nor force except through God”
  • muavzah: Compensation
  • shaukeen: someone who is fond of something; in this context – fond of expensive things

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