Fabric clad in intricate south asian patterns is all over Hillside avenue. In each instance when my friend and I asked store owners where the fabric was purchased from, the answer was always, "India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh". It was true. My friend, Sarvar, and myself noticed the distinct smell of the fabric that we had smelled once before as children in our respective countries of birth, India and Pakistan. The smell of the fabric instantly transported us to our mother's personal tailor shop hiding in the alleyways of our hometown. There is a unique beauty in the potential of the patterned fabric and it's eclectic uses which always fascinated me growing up. After immigrating to the United States, the luxury of a personal tailor was no longer available to my mother, which led her to purchase her own commercial sewing machine. She was now able to create masterpieces of her own, perfectly customized, to the exact measurements of my sisters height and waist. Sometimes the fabric would be used in the most common form, for my sister's clothing, (shalwar kameez) and scarves (dupattas) but other times, I would spot the fabric my mother had purchased at the shop in the most unexpected of places, sometimes as a curtain, other times as a bed sheet. To me, the fabric symbolizes the immigrant struggle of making an extra effort to preserve the culture that is slowly slipping away.
– Hamza Sadhra