Since my childhood, I was never the person who was even average (leave apart good) at cooking, sewing, embroidery or knitting (silaai-kadaai-bunaai). During my growing up years, I tried my hand at each of these skills and gave up on them as I could never surpass my pathetic levels. I was never forced to learn any of these either.
One thing I never tried was crocheting.
My mother who was a pro in all the aforesaid areas had a crochet hook too. As she was primarily into knitting, I didn’t see her making use of the crochet hook. The crochet hook posed a mystery to me every time making me wonder how did one work with it. A single thin metal stick, much smaller than the knitting needles, bent slightly at one end – what good can it be for was the constant thought. I do not recall asking the mother to make something with that hook and show me.
Last year, randomly browsing through the shelves of a hobby store for a brand new colouring book, I picked up a crochet book for beginners. The colourful projects and patterns in the book caught hold of my attention. I was already on the verge of losing interest in colouring pages thus I got that crochet book home to make a fresh beginning.
It took me seven days and an unfailing determination to keep at it in order to get the basic knot right, the simplest of the stitches (double, treble and half-treble stitches) right and finally a granny square right. I struggled on each of these 7 days but the thought of aborting the whole crocheting attempt did not cross my mind even once. This was July 2019.
Between July 2019 and Oct 2019, I completed crocheting a waffle stitch baby blanket for my newborn nephew, a scarf, a beanie hat and lots and lots of different style granny squares. It will not be an exaggeration to say I ate, drank and slept on crocheting.
By mid-Oct, I developed pain in my right forearm which aggravated each time I held a phone or the crochet work. I stopped my crochet work to give rest to the hand. The pain didn’t subside and it was mid-Nov when I discovered my tendons on my right forearm and around the elbow area were swelled up. The pain from here extended to both my shoulders. I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights in a row due to the pain. On the 3rd night, I had to take a pain-killer to get some sleep. The house had rotted during these 3 days. Refuting the NHS route for its long waiting list of appointments and citing the emergency situation, we decided to go private. Thankfully the private physiotherapy wasn’t as unaffordable as we initially had thought and I found some relief, especially in my shoulders after the 2nd session. The swollen tendons in the right forearm took some more time to heal with focussed exercises and stretching.
December also went past tending to the arm and altogether it had been 2 and a half months of no crocheting.
The new year dawned on 1st January amidst a lot of upheaval in the country. Once I started keeping a tab on what all was going on in terms of CAA-NRC protests and later the JNU mob attack, there was no going back and shutting myself out. It made me angry day in and day out. That was the time I realised I wouldn’t be able to function properly if I did not channelise my anger constructively. Friends encouraged me to write how I felt about the situation however the writing part was not coming to me. During this time, I turned to my therapy of crocheting granny squares once again but cautiously and slightly vary about my hand’s condition. I started with doing it for 3-5 minutes in the beginning by resting my hands on a table and lots of stretching thereafter. Earlier, I used to sit anywhere and crochet not bothering about hand support or anything. Gradually, in little more than a week’s time, I got back to completing a granny square in one go taking about 25 minutes.
Since then, I have made plenty more solid squares and another scarf from a set of squares I had crocheted earlier. I cannot still go about devoting several hours a day to crocheting but have got back to it in bits.
I got back to crocheting.