22 January, 2021

Damascus Diary

In Syria, the past is present in every corner. Take the ‘Street Called Straight’ in Damascus...

Damascus Diary

Da Mask

I could not believe I was walking down the ‘Street Called Straight’ in Damascus. The very one that a Christian god had directed the blind apostle Paul to take saying he would find a man there who would baptise him. In Syria, the past is present in every corner—a 75-year-old storyteller can conjure up the Crusades and the Ottoman Empire as if they are childhood memories.

It was 2007 and I was looking for a tiny shop near the ancient Bab Sharqui Gate to buy a Dam­ask tablecloth. The fabric derives its name from the Syrian capital, a weaving centre of repute from the Middle Ages. I found a lovely, heavy tablecloth in the silk-cotton Damask known as alaja which graces my dining table in Delhi—on special occasions, of course.

In September, I read the very same textile factories are now producing Damask...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Ruchira Gupta

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section