~By Anu. Oh dear!! I wasted half a day today trying to learn to weave a charpai (charpoy)! These romanticized Indian string cots are used throughout villages, even cities as couches, tables, beds, clothes & chilli dryers... you name it. Still, I can only find literary references to them on the web.... no actual 'HOW TO' guides (except, bizarrely, for this one. Scroll halfway down the page!)
I had this romantic idea that if I could master the art which is somewhere between rug-weaving and basket-making, I'd be able to take back the raw materials and furnish my garden in London cheaply, and chic-ly!
So, charpai man arrived with the peg legs and bamboo lengths for the frame and two kinds of rope for the actual cot. The main weave uses a fibre made from the 'san' tree (not sure about the spelling), which apparently grows by the water's edge. When the entire charpai weave is finished, a rope called 'dhawan' is used to secure it to the other end, and to tighten the weave so it doesn't sag when you sit on it.