Souvenir: Kingdom of Crafts

Souvenir: Kingdom of Crafts

These hand fans made out of palm leaves make for a great souvenir to bring back from Bahrain

Sumeet Keswani
October 04 , 2017
01 Min Read

The Al Jasra Handicrafts Centre in Bahrain was established in 1990 under the patronage of Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the prime minister. Lined with workshops where locals practise their traditional crafts in the presence of visitors, it’s a nice place to buy miniature ships, musical instruments, souvenirs, pots, etc. directly from the artisans. The moment I entered the basket-weaving shop, my eyes fell on a set of hand fans fashioned out of palm leaves. Even though the shop had many other artefacts worthy of attention, including baskets, wall décor and silk paintings, the fans held nostalgia value for me. Back home, in the arid desert of Kutch, our Saturdays were marred by long power cuts in the 1990s. And the only contraption to counter the heat then was a simple hand fan, wielded by grandma to fan us kids to sleep. It was a simpler time, when inverters were unheard of and diesel generators a privilege few could afford. Flash forward to a 29-year-old in Bahrain, who bought miniature versions of the fans (BHD 0.3 each) made on this alien, desert island to carry back home. As a thank you to a 90-year-old for countless summer afternoon naps.

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