October 21: Meet Sheikh Tayyab Mahajan. This resident of Nagpur has a dream – he wants to create a carpet in which he can weave the complete cultural pattern of India.

Ambitious? But possible, thinks Tayyab. That is why he started weaving a durrie or rug seven years ago. At that time, he wanted to make it to the Guinness Book of Records for weaving the longest carpet in the world.

Now he is aiming higher having already woven 900 feet of the durrie. He has decided that he wants the rug to remind people of the diverse cultures of the country. This was reported in an article in The Indian Express recently.

The Magic Carpet
The Magic Carpet [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
Like other weaver families, Tayyab’s artisan father initiated the boy into the world of weaving at the age of 11. The artist in Tayyab was fascinated by the intricacies of weaving. Uninterested in academics, he quit studies after high school. He never looked back.

Pouring his imagination and creativity into his work, he came out with a number of beautiful, artistic weaves. He also began to innovate during this time, using textile scrap instead of thread to weave his rugs. An environmentally conscious carpet-maker?

Tayyab’s durrie is completely woven of scrap textile material unlike normal rugs which use special threads. When spooled up, the diameter of the bundle comes to three feet and weighs at least 150 kg. Though there is no official record of a rug with the Guinness Book of Records, Tayyab’s durrie is certainly the biggest ever woven, says the report.

Tayyab has won a number of awards for his innovative products. He has also won the title of master craftsman by the Indian government. The desire to create a priceless item has egged Tayyab on for seven years.

“I want to make something unique – a speciality that would define me and my country and that would give Nagpur a permanent place in world history. So I would like to weave it as long as possible and decorate it with imprints of the cultural diversity of the country,” says the artist.

All Tayyab wants is some monetary help from the Government of India that would take care of his family’s needs. Then he would be free to dedicate all his time to weaving the carpet of his dreams, instead of the few precious hours that he can afford to spend on it now.

But government help or not, Tayyab is determined to finish his masterpiece. From all outward appearances, it seems he will too.