In a culture where people seldom speak their minds to friends, the historian and international textile authority could be a fierce critic when she felt one was going astray.
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Lotika Varadarajan. Courtesy: Laila Tyabji[/caption]
Lotika Varadarajan, the historian, international textile authority, inspirational teacher and an intrepid traveller, passed away a few days ago. She was a friend for over three decades; a source of knowledge, support and inspiration, serving too on the board of Dastkar
in the 1980s. Even more valuable, in a culture where people seldom speak their minds to friends, she could be a fierce and articulate critic when she felt one was going astray.
I Ioved her passion, her drive and dedication, her mischievous humour. Her esoteric unexpected bits of knowledge about everything from the 17th-century trade routes, which brought my ancestors to India from Yemen, to the flowers that cows were fed to make their urine more yellow (an essential element in the original kalamkari
process). Her delight at a new snippet of information or the achievements of a craftsperson. The unforgettable way her rather serious face would suddenly light up with a radiant smile, her luminous brown eyes (always heavily outlined with kohl) glowing with warmth and fun. She loved a joke, and cracked many, often at her own expense or that of her fre...