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Photo on 2011-12-06 at 11.49 #2

I love Pashmina

Hi every one, this is my first ever post  and I certainly hope one of many. A short introduction about myself. I’m Jyoti and I started Totally Bananas with the sole Idea of helping Street children  and under privileged  women in India. I got the idea of starting a website so that I could help some of the people in India who make all the products that I feature on my website. Each piece is hand made and chosen with care for quality and beauty. Having a strong background in retail  & my job being my passion, I decided to combine it and help children from my native country as well. I am originally from India but since the last almost 16 years,  living in a small town in the North of Holland called Medemblik. It is a very beautiful touristic spot, very popular with people from other parts of Europe for the water experience and historically for the steam museum and steam train.

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I got pushed into retail purely by accident. Got married at the tender age of almost 18, and being young and full of fire, big dreams in my eyes, thinking that I was born to change the world. I wanted to work and study, and do all kinds of things that would change the world for the better.As soon as I was finished with university I had my baby girl and because I wanted to spend more time with her, I got a job with a Leather export house that had a retail outlet close to where I lived, which meant that I could easily pop in to see her during my lunch breaks. I started working there as a sales assistant. It was so very  interesting and I realized  that I was very good at communicating with people and  in selling the products, that I decided  to learn everything I could about the leather industry. the long and short of it was that I learnt all I could, about  working with different kinds of leather, and how to distinguish between different kinds of leathers. I learnt how to tell as well what animal the skins came from. I also loved the interaction and the zing,  that I got working with people.

I loved the stressful atmosphere of working in the factory waiting for an consignment that had to be sent to Europe, quality control being top priority,  had to be done with care,  so that  consignments did not get rejected by the buyers. European laws  are very strict concerning quality and  exporter’s are extremely careful.  Orders from Europe are extremely  sought after as Europe means more quality rather than quantity. That made me realize  that I was neither a 9 to 5 kind of person or indeed even a desk job kind. I was the kind, that survived on the thrill of making sure that I could do my bit in delivering quality products to customer’s.

I left the  company after a few years  with greatest of regrets, but since I was embarking on a new adventure, a new found love, and a new life in Europe along with my daughter who was barely eleven at the time, I left with high hopes.  I came to Europe with many hopes and dreams and  big star’s in my eyes. Sadly not all dreams are meant to be, and  things did not quite turn out as I had hoped for or dreamt about.. The love quickly faded away and my dreams slowly  disintegrated into nothing, as dreams, sometimes are wont to  do. After four years with my dutch partner, I decided that I needed to move out and to start afresh along with my children. I say children , as I had given birth to a beautiful son who was at that time just about  to turn four . A new house, a new job and yet another new beginning. This time round, though, things were beginning to look up for me, as I started my job with a well known  international fashion company,  as store manager, at their retail Outlet store . At long last, life was finally  looking up for me and I was really  happy and over the moon . But sadly, again, it wasn’t to last as this time  I fell very sick and was diagnosed with a chronic and very rare condition which made it impossible for me to work long hours, as I was constantly being admitted into hospital. I was forced to quit my job  as it was just not plausible to work the way I had been working. Being a very  active person, who had always  worked long hours  since my teens, the thought of staying at home and not being able to do anything productive,was unbearable to me.

I realized that  I wanted to leave them a better legacy  than the mother who gave up when life became to tough. Thats  when I got the “eureka moment” The “Totally Bananas”. moment.The moment when the idea was born and the website came to life in my mind. This way I could  help not only the artisans who create the beauty, but also street children and women  in India by pledging a certain amount of money from every sale.

I realized that people here aren’t  very familiar with all things Indian, so I knew that it would be a challenge to do what I wanted to do. Mostly the knowledge that people have, is what they hear and see on the news,and sadly these are not always positive things. So I decided to show them exactly what  one can also get from India, besides the bad and the rotten. It seems that Indians have a pretty bad reputation concerning business ethics here in the west.

My intentions in writing this blog is to inform people , who are not aware of the fact that although India being a third world country , with the second largest population in the world,  is also a land of culture, beauty and a friendly people. Its not just the dirt and the filth, or mass uneducation and poverty, and where people don’t  really know any better..So, coming back to Totally Bananas,  today, lets talk  about Pashminas. What exactly is Pashmina and why is it so expensive?  And what makes it so desirable?

Pashmina comes from the Persian word for wool, which is known in the West as cashmere wool. Capra-Hircus-GoatThe word cashmere is derived from the old spelling of Kashmir. The origins of pashmina date a long way back, when the local people depended on the fabrics they wove for easy travel, warmth and especially, survival. The threads used in making this beautiful  luxurious warmth giving cloth, come from the underbelly of the Himalayan mountain goats, called the Chyangra, in latin, (Capra Hircus) which live in the high regions of the Tibetan Plateau of the Himalayan ranges.Think of the  icy temperatures that blast their way from the high plateaux of Mongolia and Xinjiang in China. Think of temperatures falling to – 40 C. Imagine the freezing winds that whip through the glaciers and mountain sides. It is here in this 14,000ft, forbidding region, that the beautiful Himalayan mountain goat roams and is to be found. To survive this inhospitable environment, this wonderful animal grows a unique, incredibly soft pashm, or inner coat, six times finer than human hair. this is one of the world’s most rare and precious fibres; soft to handle, light and warm, and to wear it is to be insulated in your very own summertime warmth. Every spring/summer, Himalayan farmers scale these mountains to comb the fine woolen undercoat from the neck and chest of, the Capra hircus goat.

With this, I leave you  until the next time reading my ramblings and hopefully understanding what the concept of totally bananas is all about. I would love to hear your comments and remarks and rest assured that I will appreciate each and every  comment that I get as I will also learn along with every one else…

On this note I shall love you and leave you. Be safe in what ever you do.. <3

 

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